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#609 Nov 2013

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Nebulous Nove

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ember edition/

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chair/ “chairman” Page 9 what’s on/ “britsoc calendar” events/ “great british ball” P events/ “bonfire night” Page 22 events/ “social friday” Page 2 film review/ “about time” Pag interview/ “Mark Collinson” books/ “autumn reads” Pag food/ “nick’s nosh” Page 44 food/ “toffee apples” Page 50 arts/ “Gauguin” Page 54 events/ “remembrance day”

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Colophon >

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ISSUE # 609

EDITOR IN CHIEF Alison Smith |


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EDITORIAL BOARD Ian Cherington | Dave Thomas | John Richardson |


ADVERTISING SALES Zetterij Jan van den Berg |




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chairman’s blog/ Dear Members and Friends, A mist descends before my eyes when I think of how much work is going on behind the scenes to realise the upcoming events. A huge thanks to all those who are helping; everything from manning the stand at the Expat Fair to making give-aways and flyers to promote the Society. For the first time, we are selling tickets to Firework Night online….and they are going well. Please note that this does not stop you from just turning up at the gate as usual!! We are planning a “best Guy” competition, so get the kids busy! The diversity of work involved in organising the events is amazing and makes it an interesting experience. During the last weeks, I received a call from the Amsterdam Council, who are handling our application for licenses to set off fireworks. It is only allowed on January 1st unless permission is granted. The council told me that our license was in danger, because of changes to the Fauna & Flora laws in the last year. It had caused the traditional Queen’s day firework display to be cancelled for the first time in 30 years. I thought we were in trouble! I was advised to seek the help of a “Nature & Agriculture Advice Bureau” and found one in Haarlem. After tearful pleas and hours of deliberations, I discovered that the problem was Bats. Yes, Bats. The location of our party, the Sloterplas, is on the flight path of a large group of protected Bats. Fortunately we could quite quickly ascertain that the bats should be in hibernation by November 10th. The Bruce Wayne in me had a wobbly moment, but we are back up to speed and eager to show off our new Gazebo! (oooohhhh!) Tickets are also going fast for the Xmas Ball, so order quickly to avoid disappointment. It promises to be another classic Ball, with a great programme of live music and DJ. The quality of prizes for the raffle and silent auction are already up to our usual high standard and the dinner menu looks excellent. For those who have already ordered tickets; we will be in touch soon about table and menu choices. I hope to see some of you at the Expatica Fair or at Bonfire Night, after which our attention will turn completely to the Ball and Christmas, which at the time of writing is only 60 shopping days away. Don’t panic!

Ian Cherington Chairman

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BritSoc Social and Sports Calendar For online October calendar go to



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I am not a tourist Expat fair 2013

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Remembrance ceremony

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Bonfire Night 4pm

Winter Fun Fair 11.00

Golf 8.00 Soft Tennis 16.00


Activity Contact Details:

Social Fridays is Tracey Taylor. Email: Soft tennis is Sharron Reed. Email: Bridge is Ruth and Art Max. Email: Squash is Paul Huxley. Email: Scottish Country Dancing. Email: Tennis is Geoff Dudley. Email: see

Scottish Country Dancing Group

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.









Squash 19.30 Tennis 20.00


Playgroup 11.00 Badminton 20.00

Scottish dancing 19.30-21:00 Bridge Night 19.30



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Squash 19.30 Tennis 20.00

Playgroup 11.00 Badminton 20.00

Bridge Night 19.30 Scottish dancing 19.30-21:00




Squash 19.30 Tennis 20.00

Playgroup 11.00 Badminton 20.00

Bridge Night 19.30 Scottish dancing 19.30-21:00

Social Friday @ The Tara 21.00-24:00

The Hague Shakespeare Festival


Squash 19.30 Tennis 20.00

27 Playgroup 11.00 Badminton 20.00

28 Scottish dancing 19.30-21:00 Bridge Night 19.30


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enjoy a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Thursday 28th November 2013. Serving from 12.00 midday till late - reserve now!

menu thanksgiving cocktail Alabama Slammer €8.15


Corn chowder soup (Vegetarian) €6.95

main course

Freshly sliced turkey served with traditional stuffing, garlic and herb mashed potato, fresh vegetables, gravy and cranberry sauce €19.95


A Thanksgiving tradition: Pumpkin pie served with whipped cream €6.95

2 courses €24.95

A combination of 2 courses

3 courses €26.95

Appetizer/Main Course/Dessert

For reservations email or call +31 (0) 20 523 7611.

amsterdam ®

max euweplein 57-61 / 1017 ma amsterdam / +31 (0) 20 523 7625 join hardrockrewards .com

/ hardrockcafeamsterdam

/ hrcamsterdam

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©2013 Hard Rock International (USA), Inc. All rights reserved.

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Dates for your Diary

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You’re sure to have a truly amazing night in true British style. As our theme suggests, show your patriotic side and add a hint of Red, White or Blue to our black tie dress code. (Fab prize for the best dressed couple). The evening starts at 6:30pm with a red carpet treatment and colourful cocktail reception followed by a sumptuous ‘Great British Dinner’ by a British Michelin-starred chef in the unique St. Olaf’s Chapel with fabulous live entertainment. To help raise money for the Red Cross and Cliniclowns charities, a silent charity auction and raffle will be held during the course of the evening. Then we’ll have you

dancing the night away with our resident Brit Pop DJ. More exciting details to follow nearer the event…

eTickets: Tickets are €105 for Britsoc members and €125 for non-members

Who let Gordon Brown on the dance floor? Page 19


The Great British ‘Red, White & Blue’ Charity Ball 2013 This year we will hold the ball for the second year in the fabulous St Olaf’s Chapel, which is part of the NH Barbizon Palace Hotel. The Ball attracts around 150 high net worth expats and is usually attended by His Excellency the British Ambassador to the Netherlands, who has also been invited to this year’s event. The event is positioned at the end of the year, close to Christmas, providing a glamorous start to the festive season combined with fund-raising opportunities for our two nominated charities which this year are the International Red Cross and Clini Clowns. The aim is to give everyone a night to remember plus raising much needed funds for our chosen charities.

About the Society Established in 1920, BritSoc (The British Society of Amsterdam) is a social society established to cater for people of every nationality looking to meet new friends, socialise and take part in the many activities where the common currency of communication is the English language. BritSoc is a pro-active and multi-cultural organisation that has something to suit all tastes and all ages. The Society offers a wide range of social and sporting activities on a weekly and monthly basis, including: Squash, Cricket, Tennis, Golf, Bridge, Book Clubs, Scottish Country Dancing, Quiz Nights and Pub Nights. Our Annual events include a Ceilidh, Blind Date Night, St. Georges Day/Shakespeare’s Birthday Party, Grand Family Summer Picnic, Excursions to the WW1 Battlefields, Bonfire Night, and last, but not least, our fabulous Christmas Ball, with proceeds going to support a number of charities. BritSoc also serves the wider expat community with its monthly digital glossy magazine, the ZINE (readership over 4,000), and from its popular website (14,000 unique, high-quality visitors since Jan 2013 launch.) Membership benefits include reductions on many BritSoc events and activities.

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Sponsorhip opportunity of the year Sponsorship Opportunities

We are offering a range of sponsorship options for which you will receive recognition on the night plus, depending on the chosen option, a number of advertising benefits such as appearing on all the promotional material, website and an advert in Zine - the British society monthly electronic magazine. Below is an outline of what we can offer based on the level of sponsorship you are prepared to take. However if you have other ideas please feel free to discuss it with me or one of the British Society committee members. Contact:

Platinum Sponsor Sponsorship of >2000 euros or auction/raffle prize of that value • Video advert to be shown just before dinner on the night and mention in speeches • Name on all promotional material, distributed at BritSoc events such as Bonfire Night & Expatica Fair • 2 months of one page adverts in the Zine • 2 months of website adverts on • Any attendees get the membership rate for the Ball and seats on the top table.

Gold Sponsor Sponsorship of >1000 euros or auction/raffle prize of that value • • • • •

Video advert to be shown just before dinner on the night and mention in speeches Name on all Ball advertisements on website and other social media such as Facebook 1 month of 1/2 page adverts in the Zine 1 month of website adverts on Any attendees get the membership rate for the Ball

Silver sponsor Sponsorship of between 500 and 1000 euros or auction/raffle prize of that value • Mention in speeches • Name on all Ball advertisements on website and other social media such as Facebook • 1 month of 1/2 page adverts in the Zine

Bronze Sponsor Sponsorship of up to 500 euros or auction/raffle prize of that value • Name on all Ball advertisements on website and other social media such as Facebook • Discounted advertising rate in the Zine for 1 month

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Got any plans for bonfire night, dude?

Dude, You look more like a Father Christmas


Yeah, dude, I’m thinking of entering the Guy Fawkes Competition

AY NOVEMBER 10, 2013 Page 23

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eTicket sale ends 5pm Frid Oct 8, 2013. Tickets on sale at the gate.

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Britsoc Shop. Open for business on Oct 1, 2013 As we enter our busiest Britsoc event season— Bonfire Night, The Great British Ball, Burn’s Night— we have decided, for your convenience, to open a new section on the website called the Britsoc Shop, where you can purchase eTickets for major upcoming Britsoc events. Where do I start? First go to Here you’ll find a link to your chosen event, let’s say Bonfire Night, on the events calendar. Each event, for which we sell tickets, will have a green button on the event calendar page that says Buy Tickets. (See example below).

Click on this button and you’ll be taken to the main page of the Britsoc Shop: (Of course you can start here if you know enough about the event.)

How to order single or multiple tickets? If you scroll down on the

main page of the Britsoc Shop, you’ll see the featured tickets. This is just to show you all the different variations and prices. If you want to buy one ticket, or more than one ticket type, click on any ticket and you will be presented with multiple ticket options, which you can find below the event details. Tickets for Bonfire Night and the Christmas Ball will appear from Oct 1, 2013. One person can buy as many ticket types as they want. For example, Bonfire Night tickets: 3 Britsoc member tickets, 1 non-member ticket, and 5 free under 14 tickets.


Sign in with your free account or create one. Simply choose the

number and type of ticket/s you want from each group and then click the proceed button. This next page is where you can sign in or create your free account. (This is different from your Britsoc membership number). If you are not registered with us on the shop site, you’ll be asked to fill in a few essential details to open up an account with us. Don’t worry, we promise not to share your name or email with any third parties. Once you have filled in the simple form and created your account, you can easily sign in and order tickets for future events. It’s really just for future convenience. If you forget your password the next time you log in, we’ll send that to you automatically.

Completing your order and receiving your eTicket/s. You will

receive a Thank You email from us when you first sign up and make an account. When you complete the order transaction, you’ll receive another email from us that states that Your Order is Complete. You’ll receive this even if you have not yet paid. Please note, however, that this is not an eTicket. This will contain your order details, and order number for your reference. You’ll still have to pay if you have not yet done so. For those who have paid, please find the ticket details below.

When do I receive my eTicket/s?

When your funds clear in our bank (we’ll check this daily), then you’ll receive the eTicket. This will include a special security code, details of the event, contact details, address, time and date. Don’t worry, if you forget to print out and bring your ticket/s to show at the event entrance, we’ll have your ticket details on hand. If you experience any problems or have further questions, please email us at: What about free tickets? Free

tickets, for the Bonfire Night under 14s for example, will be sent out by email after our ticket processing system has completed the transaction. Usually within 24hrs.

How do I pay for tickets? There are three easy and convenient ways to pay for tickets with us. The most used payment gateway by expats in the Netherlands is iDeal, followed by Direct Transfer and Paypal. PLEASE NOTE: ALL TRANSACTIONS TAKE PLACE BEHIND YOUR BANK’S SECURE FIREWALL.

For more details go to: Page 27

Social Friday Fr

| @The Tara 21

Friday 8th Nov, 2013 No attendance list or Britsoc membership required—so just show up! Sean Jansen

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rom 1:00



Venue: Rokin 85-89, 1012KL Amsterdam Trams: 4,9,14,16,24 and 25 tramstop Rokin. Contact: Tracey Taylor Email:

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/ back bar area is exiting to the Nes backstreet entrance. Look out for us near the bar wearing a bright pink scarf. 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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Written and Directed by: Richard Curtis


Starring Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy


rief synopsis (no spoilers): When he turns 21, Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) receives the surprising news from his father (Bill Nighy) that he can travel in time, a gift only passed through the male line of the family. He can change what has happened in his own life, but can’t travel outside his own timeline. He decides that his first priority is to find a girlfriend, and of course, with his newly discovered skill to go back in time, he can meet and impress the girl in question as many times as he likes, until he gets it right. Before I review this movie I have to admit that I’m a huge Richard Curtis fan and have enjoyed almost all his work from Blackadder to Bridget Jones, with Four Weddings and a Funeral being one of my all-time favourite comedies..

His witty dialogue and skill at showing the foibles of the eccentric English middle classes is my kind of humour. This movie has many of his usual features. Page 30

Slightly gauche English boy meets American girl (ref: Four Weddings and Notting Hill), humour centred around eccentric English middle class families (Bridget Jones, Four Weddings, Notting Hill) and a finale involving a collage of scenes featuring a mix of the cast and ordinary people (Love Actually). Tim’s ditsy sister KitKat (played by Lydia Wilson) is a character very reminiscent of Scarlett (Charlotte Coleman) in Four Weddings or Honey (Emma Chambers) in Notting Hill and I’ve seen mad Uncle Desmond crop up before too as a guest in Four Weddings and a Funeral. No matter, it’s been a winning formula, so far… I always think that movies involving time travel must be tricky to write as there are so many opportunities to get your plot in a twist and have the audience pull holes in the credibility of the plot – as if it’s really credible to time travel, but hey! suspension of disbelief is what movies are all about.

Richard Curtis keeps it fairly simple. His main character can go back and forth within his own lifetime and live things again, tweaking things in his or someone else’s favour and, unless he changes his own whereabouts at a certain time, he can return to his present with all things intact. No chance of meeting himself in a former scenario or anything like the sort of loops that the writers of ‘Back to the Future’ had to contend with. This works convincingly and the only question I had at the end was where does Tim’s family think he’s gone to when he gallivants back in time to play another game of table tennis with his father? But maybe that’s too pedantic a question. This ability to “come in again” gives the movie some of its funniest and most poignant scenes and is at its funniest in the wedding scene when he can go back and reselect his best man, based on the greatness or cringeworthiness of the afterdinner speech. All good fun to watch, but not as

film review/ The soundtrack, as in all Richard Curtis movies, is a must-have and features tracks from The Killers, The Cure, Amy Winehouse and Nick Cave. Still, for me, this was not as rip-roaringly funny as I had hoped.

infectiously funny as some of Curtis’s other films. It’s a winning cast.

Bill Nighy, appearing for the umpteenth time in a Richard Curtis vehicle (The Boat that Rocked, Love Actually) plays his usual twitchy, cool persona but adds enough depth to endear the audience into believing he is Tim’s eccentric but loving father.

The main boy/ girl characters are delightfully played by Domhnall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams and, although Curtis

gives them many witty lines, the fun parts go to Tom Hollander as a misanthropic playwright, who has a habit of being inappropriately plain speaking and mad Uncle Desmond, who asks all the wrong questions.

There’s a nice (uncredited) cameo appearance from Richard Griffiths and Richard E. Grant, who starred together in Withnail and I. It was to be Richard Griffith’s final film as he sadly died in March 2013.

It’s a feel-good, amusing story and a good way to spend two hours on a rainy Monday evening but, though I hate to say it, some of the typical Richard Curtis techniques are becoming a bit clichéd. I’d give it 3 stars out of 5 and advise you to ask for the DVD for Christmas. Maybe not fair as I think I had set my expectations too high, but this one just didn’t grab me and make me laugh out loud. Trivia courtesy of IMDB: This is the third movie in which Rachel McAdams stars as the love interest of a time traveler. The previous ones were The Time Traveler’s Wife, in which she played the titular wife to Eric Bana’s character and Midnight in Paris, in which she played the fiancée of Owen Wilson’s character. Alison Smith Page 31

interview of the month/

“Building relationships in Amsterdam� Interview with Mark Collinson, Britsoc member and minister at Christ Church Amsterdam

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What is your contribution to Britsoc? I keep the Britsoc chairman humble by beating him at squash. Dave Thomas

Matthijs Reiss and Mark Collinson

You like mountains and open spaces. What brought you to Amsterdam? I used to live in Den Bosch working for ICI implementing SAP so I knew the Dutch culture. When I was coming to the end of my first training job as a minister I saw the job in Amsterdam and felt I fitted the profile. That was back in 2001! What does your job involve besides preaching on a Sunday? A mixture of management and personal coaching. Christ Church has four congregations and I am the senior minister in the team. I am also responsible for my colleague Anglican church ministers in the Netherlands. The coaching side has various aspects. Counselling people with difficulties, running courses on marriage or the basics of

the Christian faith, and getting alongside people in their places of work. Plus there is a lot of just getting out and meeting people. For example, I recently took part in the art and culture festival Nuit Blanche at the NRC offices on Rokin. Can you describe the Church you are minister of, Christ Church, in 3 USPs? Diverse (more than 30 nationalities). Welcoming (you can be yourself, find community and connect). Accessible (it is easy to become involved and join in). It’s pretty similar to BritSoc in fact! Stephen Huyton comes to our church and I always used to think he was better at running a ‘BritSoc church’ in his spare >> time than I was full-time. Page 33

interview of the month/

What can our readers expect if they turn up to Christ Church on a Sunday morning? A place where you can feel safe, meet God and connect with other people. Christ Church in Amsterdam has grown from one to three congregations over the past seven years. What’s prompted this growth and how do you keep everyone on board? Amsterdam is one of the culturally most diverse cities in the world. We want to reflect that diversity in our congregations and be accessible to everyone. Our three Amsterdam congregations are located in different parts of the city and they each have their own flavour. City Centre is a vibrant and dynamic congregation that welcomes a lot of people in their 20s and 30s and many tourists. In Amsterdam South, a congregation with many families meets at the British School, and in Amsterdam South-East we have a new congregation with a strong African flavour. We also have a fourth congregation near Alkmaar in Heiloo. What keeps everyone on board? Accepting and enjoying the diversity and being community together. Christ Church has been in Amsterdam for 300 years. How is it staying relevant to internationals and ‘Amsterdammers’ in this 24/7 age? The City Centre Church is located in the former Staalmeesters Hof on Groenburgwal where Rembrandt probably produced his famous Staalmeesters (The Sampling Officials) painting. It is said that he even etched his name somewhere in the woodwork of our building (now covered in paint). The church was established in the Netherlands at the end of the Golden Age when, just like now, Amsterdam was a thriving international city. We remain relevant because we enable people to do life in such a cosmopolitan place by helping people know themselves, know others, and relate to God. How do you build a vibrant church community when many internationals are just here for a few weeks, months or years? It’s all about building up relationships and getting people involved. So plenty of opportunities to eat, drink and chat together. And if somebody is just in town for a few weeks but wants to play guitar in the service, for example, then great. We encourage people to use the skills God has given them and join in. Is Christ Church’s work limited to church people or do you offer more to the wider international community in Amsterdam? We are definitely involved more in Amsterdam. For example, we contribute to the chaplaincy at Schiphol Airport that supports airport users as well as Schiphol’s many employees. We provide a range of activities for international students. And several members of our congregation are members of the OZ100 community in the Red Light district that provides housing and care for >> Page 34

I listen carefully. I do not assume what I’m hearing is what the other person is saying. I give people time. I make sure I’m on the same wavelength.

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people who have fallen off the bottom rung of the social ladder. Furthermore, through our alumni network we support communities across the world: AIDS victims in Thailand, basic healthcare for villages in Uganda and helping the poorest of the poor in Bihar, India. We’re also planning a trip to Rwanda next year to visit people who have been given a second chance to make the most of their lives.

violent and evil in their deceit. What I personally do about it? I support the organisation Stop the Traffic and it is a subject I occasionally bring up in my sermons.

How do you manage to cooperate with people from so many different backgrounds and cultures in your work? I listen carefully and I do not assume that what I think I am hearing is actually what the other person is saying. I give people the time they need and I carefully ask questions to make sure I am on the same wavelength.

How has Christ Church used Internet and social media to reach a wider audience and What is your contribution to Britsoc? to allow its members to interact more with I keep Britsoc’s chairman humble by beating him each other? at squash. The web and social media are great support tools but are never a substitute for face-to-face communication. We try to have a well-designed website and we are active on Facebook. You can also follow me on Twitter: @amsterdamvicar. Within Christ Church we have a web-based communication system. That promotes a lot of peer-to-peer and bottom-up communication and it means we are no longer dependent on continuously out-of-date address lists. What do you hope to achieve as a minister in the next five years? We are currently reviewing our mission statement for the past 10 years. Just like companies, churches need to consider what their objectives are and whether they are still being effective. So my vision for the next five years is still on the drawing table to be shaped by our current process of evaluation. What things in Amsterdam inspire and encourage you the most? I still get a real buzz cycling along the canals. When I see all the people sitting outside the cafes, I sometimes wonder whether I’m the only one doing any work here though! And I have a real respect for how good the Dutch infrastructure is - the cycle paths and the public transport, for example. What angers you most in Amsterdam and what can you do to change it? Human trafficking in the sex industry. Human trafficking is a criminal activity worth more than the drugs trade. And it angers me even more that many Dutch people justify it by claiming the women do it voluntarily and pay their taxes. Nothing could be further from the truth. The pimps and others who target the women are Page 36

Favourites: Food: Acorn-fed Spanish loin of ham TV programme: Top Gear - it’s really a programme about people as much as cars. Writer: Ken Follett Sport: Squash and, when I am not in Holland, climbing mountains Place: The Goat House - a simple one-room dwelling without electricity 6000 feet up in the French Alps

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Autumn Books Beth Johnson recommends....

This autumn several fantastic books have been published: the new Donna Tartt The Goldfinch, the spectacular Amsterdam, a history of the World’s most liberal city by Russell Shorto, but also a new Bill Bryson!! (One summer: America 1927, hardback). Bryson writes about the coming of age of America during the summer of 1927 when the stock market was booming, Charles Lindbergh became the most famous man on earth, Al Capone’s reign of terror was peaking, a crazy sculptor set off to carve four giant heads into an inaccessible mountain – and the world was changing forever.

Beth Johnson is the owner of Boekhandel Van Rossum (Beethovenstraat 32 in Amsterdam) which sells a wide range of Dutch and English books. Page 38

And I have three more favourite reads. Colum McCann


Paperback Published by Random House This is my favourite book of the season, a series of stories based on incidents in American and Irish history and embellished by the superb author Colum McCann. I can only wax eloquent about it!

Marisha Pessl

Night Film

Paperback Published by Random House The 24-year-old daughter of the famous and mysterious film director Stanislav Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in Manhattan. Her apparent suicide appears to be the latest tragedy to hit a severely cursed dynasty. For the journalist McGrath, this seems far too coincidental. Driven by revenge, curiosity and a need for the truth he finds himself pulled into a hypnotic, disorienting world with no clear answers. A fantastic read from the renowned author of Special Topics in Calamity Physics. Taiye Selasi

Ghana Must Go

Paperback Published by Penguin Selasi is a protégée of Toni Morrison and a new voice in the English Afripolitan tradition. She writes with glittering, poetic command, a sense of daring and a deep emotional investment in the lives of her characters. The family Sai are successful professionals from Ghana and Nigeria who have settled in Boston and raised five wonderful children. But as Chinua Achebe wrote: things fall apart. And that of course, is what makes for great literature!

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BritSoc Ski Trip Announcement A number of British Society members have agreed to go on a ski vacation in Ischgl in Austria in 2014. The dates are:

February 15th until the 22nd, 2014. For further information: Look out in ZINE and on the Britsoc website Or if you want to sign up earlier, please contact:

Arie v. H. den Breems Email:

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ISA campus, main entrance









Setting the stage. At ISA, we believe that great facilities can set the stage for great learning. ISA is housed in a space specially designed for international education. And inspiration. Our facilities include a four-floor library/media center, a 400-seat theatre, science labs and specialist studios for music, art, and drama. More than 400 computers are joined in a school-wide, online network. Students work with laptops and iPads in the classroom. Two state-of-the-art gyms, discovery oriented playgrounds and adjacent playing fields are large, well equipped and secure. ISA’s campus is not a luxury. It’s where ideas are born.

Exciting and developing young minds Sportlaan 45 - 1185 TB Amstelveen - The Netherlands - Tel. +31 20 347 1111 -

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 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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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.

“The classes are small and the teachers give us a lot of attention� Every day is an open day at the British School of Amsterdam. Why not come along and visit us? For more information, see, or contact us at +31 (0) 20 67 97 840 or info@


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Maiya Age 11 English

British Language Training Centre


English & Dutch Courses Teaching English (TEFL) Tel. 020 622 3634

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: Member of The British Society of Amsterdam

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Britsoc food correspondent Nick Nugent Reporting from the four corners of the Amsterdam kitchen Lab111. Fromagerie Abraham Kef Page 45

Lab111 E

xpectations can be a very bad thing! Unless you have tried and tested thoroughly before you embark on a venture, there is always a risk you will end up with disappointment, but being the food critic for Zine I do have to take these risks for you. When I came across Lab111, based in the old pathological laboratory in Helmersbuurt, which had been advertised in one of the, now seems, year round food festivals, I thought it looked interesting. The name conjured up images in my head of Damien Hirst’s Pharmacy (now closed) which existed in Notting Hill Gate in London. I was extremely lucky to go there one evening and serendipitously met up with a group of management trainees from P & G. After I told them it was my birthday they told me that the rest of the night was on them and waved their corporate credit cards around with great gusto spreading the massive drinks bill between the people who were there. Needless to say I had a good (cheap) evening and, apart from the endless discussions about the shampoo market in Germany versus the detergent market in Spain, I very much enjoyed my surroundings, if not the conversation. When the conversation did stray to the more mundane topics, I was able to take in the crazy splendour of Hirst’s creation with white pill shaped bar stools, glass backed urinal with old medicine packages and rubber gloves on display behind. There were representations of pharmaceutical molecules dotted all around the place too. The place was clinical white, harsh even, but fantastically over the top. Maybe you can see where I am going with this already? Lab111 has a couple of surgeon’s lights over a main central table and some old light fittings on the ceiling, geometric black and white wallpaper, stainless steel bar, basic black tables and plastic/ metal seating. A Damien Hirst-inspired creation this is not.


in the faux croquette just some texture, but the chilli sauce had a nice kick. I love this Japanese seaweed stuff. I think I would have preferred a bowl of that instead. My dinner companion chose the smoked mackerel, beetroot, apple and scallop. It was a nicely composed dish, not particularly brilliant in any aspect and for me the scallop was a little undercooked.

The mains we chose were beef and pheasant. The beef came with dauphinoise potatoes which was one of the main reasons I chose it, spinach and a beef gravy. The beef was cooked medium rare to my taste and was very tender, but did not really have a lot of flavour. The dauphiniose potatoes were very disappointing. I got a 20x5x3 cm block of not fully cooked, not creamy, a little garlicky, hard cheesy topped piece of potato cake. Not happy! The spinach was wilted nicely, but the gravy it came with tasted burnt. The pheasant was extremely dry, overcooked and sucked the moisture right out of my mouth.

“It felt like I was exposed to the villain’s deadly disintegrater gun from the 1966 Batman movie!” The sauerkraut and mash were, however, quite good. But the gravy, which I think I could detect clove and cinnamon, overpowered. They reprieved themselves somewhat with the dessert: a chocolate tart, for which again the waiter could not find a completely suitable description. It turned out to be a brownie cut into a wedge shape. tuile biscuit, raspberry cream, couli and a couple of fresh raspberries completing this tasty dish. It was the best thing they served all night. We had a bottle of Argentinian Malbec to go with all this, which was a plain, highly alcoholic one at 14%.

I’m here for the food however, so I put my over egged expectations to one side to give you a proper review on the food.

No real fruit flavour of note in this one. The bill with tip was around 100 euros which is not cheap for this type of food.

The menu is trying to be a bistro style with starters normally just below 10 euros and mains below 20. For starters I chose Cod Croquettes, which the waiter explained were neither croquettes nor contained any cod or tasted fishy! These were served with Japanese seaweed salad and chilli sauce. Maybe I should have listened to the waiter as it looked better than it tasted, with no flavour

The rest of the complex shows arthouse cinema (mostly not English with Dutch subtitles) and hosts art exhibitions.

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I think if you want to try one of these activities come for a coffee and the chocolate tart, but go somewhere else for dinner!

By Nick Nugent


Arie Biemondstraat 111 1054 PD Amsterdam Tel: + 31 20 6169994 email: Online Reservations taken Closed Mondays

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Fromagerie Abraham Kef A

s Wallace would say “I’m just crackers about cheese!” so when some friends invited me for a Sunday afternoon of cheese tasting with some wine included, I jumped at the chance. Fromagerie Abraham Kef is a specialist store which focuses on mainly French cheeses, but also has some famous varieties from other countries. The design inside is like a very cosy French farmhouse kitchen, all tiles, natural wood and beams. In the downstairs shop/tasting room there are spaces for around 15 people to sit at the wine barrel tables. If you wish to do a tasting it is necessary to book and the Sunday we went it was very busy. They have 3 tasting levels beginning from 15 euros per person with a glass of wine, up to the one we chose which was the Dégustation memorable, which was 35 euros a head. What you get for your money is 3 courses of cheese with 5 varieties on each plate, which they tailor to your taste on the day, and a glass of wine with each course. This option takes around 2 ½ hours, which may seem like a long time, but it is just right to savour the cheese and have an interesting conversation with your friends. The ladies who served us on the day focused on what they considered were more Autumn cheeses with warmer, stronger flavours, plus after hearing my accent, threw a couple of British cheeses in the mix. With well over 100 cheeses to choose from it takes quite some knowledge to set up a balanced platter and I am happy to say they did a good job. Round 1 was Goats and Sheep cheeses.

These often cause the most debate as the flavour and smell can often be very powerful, often likened to sweaty this or dirty that.

Round 2 was mostly cows cheeses. During the conversation in round 1, we discussed the phenomenon which is Stinking Bishop cheese with my Dutch and French friends. I was delighted to see it served in Round 2.

This along with a Brie aux Truffes were the two highlights of the whole tasting for me. The Morbier which was served in this round also deserves a creditable mention too. Those of you who love the potato dish tartiflette, then their Reblochon is not really good enough to be considered for this yet. We were served red Côtes du Rhône with this course. Platter 2 - Brie aux Truffes, Stinking Bishop, Crémeux Vosgien, Reblochon, Morbier.

Round 3 was mostly Blue Cheeses. These were pretty good and had that sharp acidic flavour which I like. Also on this platter we had another British cheese, a Baronet, which is supposed to be direct competition for Reblochon. Although it was better than the one they had on platter 2, it was still only OK.

Round 3 was accompanied by Escapade French red from 2011, which was the best wine we had, with low tannins and a very fruity flavour.

Platter 3 - Bleu des Basques, Bleu de chèvre, Bleu de Gex, Baronet, Laguiole This was a really great way to spend a Sunday afternoon!


Fromagerie Abraham Kef Marnixstraat 192 1016 TJ Amsterdam Tel: 020 420 0097 Open Wed-Sun

We were served 5 relatively mild and creamy cheeses which only caused issues with one of our party. Although all were nice I did not really have a strong opinion about any of them. The course was accompanied by a white from Saumur (Loire Valley, Chenin Blanc) which has excellent honey notes, which always goes well with goats cheese. Platter 1 - Banon, Brin d’Amour, Chèvre du Pont d’Yeu, Faume Du Cézallien, Pave du Chateau.

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By Nick Nugent Page 49

Karen Vivers

Toffee Apples

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food glorious/

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food glorious/ K

aren 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.

Toffee Apples

Although I don’t relish the shortening days and the dropping temperatures of the autumn and approaching winter, I do relish the food. I love the change of seasonal foods and of course all the celebrations that go with them. Although every season has its own foodie treats, autumn is for me, I think, my favourite. All those mushrooms, shell fish, root vegetables and of course fruits. Traditionally a time of harvest, there are so many festivals and holidays to celebrate this abundance of food, whether your thing is Hallowe’en, Sinterklaas, Thanksgiving or Davali, (or you are like me and celebrate as many of them as you can) there’s plenty of great food around to make each occasion a real feast! You may have noticed that there is one thing I have missed from my list of autumnal festivals. I’m sure I have missed more than one actually, but the festival to which I refer in this case is Guy Fawkes night. How could I forget? After all, it was drummed into me at school with the song ‘Remember, remember the 5th of November……!’ I missed ‘Guy’ from the list because I wanted to single Bonfire Night out for some special attention. Not only because of the British Society celebration, but also because of my recipe for Toffee Apples. Bonfire night means being wrapped up in my biggest coat, packed into a huge scarf and massive mittens ready to take on the November night air. I have heard that some people go to the Guy Fawkes events for the spectacular fireworks and the awe inspiring bonfire. You may already have guessed though, that for me, all that spectacular display takes second place. Second, of course, to the food on offer. The hamburgers and sausages in warm buttered rolls slathered in onions and relish. And then of course there’s the sweet stuff. Fluffy, impossibly large

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candy floss, and the toffee apples! I did wonder about including this recipe, it’s not exactly grown up, but after some consideration, I decided that it encapsulated the season both in food (there are some really great apples around now), and in celebration. This one is a real definite for Guy Fawkes night.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 10 minutes Ingredients for 8 Toffee Apples 8 large apples. I like to use Granny Smith or Elstar 400gr / 14oz. light brown caster sugar 100ml / 3.5fl oz. water 4 tbsp golden syrup 1 x tsp vinegar 8 x wooden lolly sticks


1. Remove the stalks from the apples and place them in your kitchen sink, making sure of course that it is clean. 2. Pour water from a kettle that has just boiled over the apples. This removes any coating and makes it easy for the toffee to adhere to the apples. Dry them off. 3. Drive your wooden lolly sticks into the centre at the core area of each apple. Make sure you leave enough exposed to hold the apple. 4. Lay out a sheet of grease proof paper on your work surface close to your stove top where you will be making the toffee. 5. Tip the sugar and the water into a high sided, heavy bottomed pan (not non-stick) on a medium high heat until the sugar dissolves. This will take about 5 minutes. 6. Add the vinegar and the syrup and turn up the heat to high to bring the mix to a boil. Allow it to boil rapidly until it reaches a temperature of 140°C / 280°F. If you have a sugar thermometer you can use this to measure. However, if you, like me, do not have a thermometer, you can check the temperature by dropping a teaspoon full or so of the mix into a bowl of cold water. If it hardens and becomes brittle immediately it is ready. If it is at all squidgy or soft, keep boiling until you reach this ‘hard crack’ stage. 7. When the toffee is ready it’s time to work swiftly and of course carefully. I like to tip my pan to the side allowing the toffee to collect at the side of the pan giving me a deeper dipping area. Take

food glorious/ an apple by the lolly stick, dunk it, twist and swirl until coated, stand the apple upside down as it were on the grease proof paper and repeat. 8. Leave the toffee apples to harden. They will keep for a couple of days, but make sure you store them in a cool place or the toffee may melt.

Tips and Variations

When working with melting, or melted sugar be extra careful. This hot sugar or toffee can cause very painful burns as it sticks to the skin and the heat is intense. Try adding some cinnamon to the toffee for a spicy version. You can sprinkle some chopped nuts over the coated apples (before they set).

information about how to eat to stay healthy. This book started life as a collection of recipes used by Karen to lose over 40kgs. Karen was diagnosed with a Binge Eating Disorder (B.E.D ) in 2003 and had lost and gained 100’s of kgs over her teenage and adult life. Karen realized that she had to face her fear (and her great love) – food - and take a whole new approach. This became the start of her successful and sustainable weight loss and the inspiration for her business “The Cooking Coach”. The book can also be downloaded to kindle and other E-readers and is compatible with tablets and smartphones as well as laptops and PCs.


“Love Food, Live Healthy” is now available on Amazon.

Learn How to Cook the Healthy, Tasty Meals you WANT to Eat!

Karen has recently published her first book ‘Love Food, Live Healthy’ ,which is ideal if you want to eat more consciously or lose weight without compromising on flavour or your enjoyment of food. A very achievable, common sense approach to healthy eating and cooking. With over 150 no-fuss, contemporary recipes suitable for cooks of all skill levels. As well as the recipes in the book showing you what to eat, there is lots of

The Cooking Coach Love Food, Live Healthy Mobile : 06 1424 0009 Email: Page 53

You have a few incredible composers and you put them together and it’s like a menu - Bach, Ravel, Beethoven and Prokofiev….. I like to have a lot of different combinations, a taste of everything.

Paul Gauguin, Sacred Spring: Sweet Dreams (Nave Nave Moe), 1894 © State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg


Text: Dave Thomas. Photos: © State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

Art fusion in the post-impressionistic age Gauguin, Bonnard, Denis at the Hermitage Perhaps the title should have been Denis, Bonnard and Gauguin Although a crowd puller, Gauguin plays a minor role in this exhibition


is work, especially his use of colour was, however, a major source of inspiration for Denis, Bonnard and the other artists of the Les Nabis movement. It started in 1890, the year in which Van Gogh shot himself. Paris was emerging as a modern cosmopolitan city with metro trains rumbling underground and the first electric streetlamps flickering on the streets. Les Nabis is derived from the Arabic/Hebrew word nabi, which means prophet. To be honest I struggled to see anything prophetic

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in what I initially experienced as a disparate collection of paintings: large commissioned decorative works, more impressionistic paintings with a hint of realism and some clearly more mystical and symbolic compositions. My mind flashed back to an interview I’d read a few hours before in the Financial Times: “You have a few incredible composers and you put them together and it’s like a menu - Bach, Ravel, Beethoven and Prokofiev….. I like to have a lot of different combinations, a taste of everything.” (Food of love an

interview with Lang Lang, Financial Times, 5 October 2013). The collection displayed at The Hermitage was indeed a carefully selected menu procured by wealthy Russians who frequented the salons of Paris as Les Nabis flourished but was shunned by the Parisian art establishment. Les Nabis in all its manifestations was about capturing moods and feelings - trying to convey the invisible with a mixture of impressionism, realism, symbolism, decorative art and simplified forms. Flowers that have a soul in Fantin Latour’s still lifes, Auburtin’s

The collection displayed at The Hermitage is indeed a carefully selected menu procured by wealthy Russians who frequented the salons of Paris as Les Nabis flourished but was shunned by the Parisian art establishment.

arts review/ dreamy yet in places photorealistic “Landscape with an overgrown pond” (1899-1903) and Odilon Redon´s vivid almost garish “Sleeping woman under a tree” (1900-1901).

Bonnard has a way of drawing you into his paintings as his work hovers on the boundary between the concrete and the vague. In “Landscape in Dauphine” (ca. 1899) I saw Japanese-like blossom trees reminiscent of Van Gogh´s “Almond Blossom” (1890) and Bonnard’s “Seine near Vernon” (1911) could have been the banks of the River Trent in West Butterwick, the village where my grandma lived. Denis stated “a picture - is essentially a flat surface covered in colours assembled in a certain order”. With his music room paintings for Ivan Morozov he practised what he preached: large flat classical scenes in a decorative style with a strong use of pink. The paintings are like fine art on luxury wallpaper.

swirling browns and greys around the subjects’ heads. An indistinct yet intimate embrace with so many layers of emotion, something akin to Rembrandt´s “The Jewish Bride” (ca. 1665-1669). On the way out I passed Bonnard´s triptych for the stairs of Morozov (1910). An alluring Adriatic view that took me back to the fresh figs I had savoured at lunch and then I wondered what Les Nabis on a plate would taste like.

Before leaving I spent several minutes gazing at Eugene Carriere´s Mother and Child (1901). Even the brushedcopper colour frame merged into the

Félix Vallotton, Woman at a Piano, 1904

© State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg Practical information Exhibition: Gauguin, Bonnard, Denis. Een Russische liefde voor Franse kunst When:

14 September 2013 to 28 February 2014


The Hermitage. Amstel 51, Amsterdam

Open times: Daily 10.00 to 17.00 hours Admission:

Adults 15 euros, children (6-16) 5 euros, children under 6 free,

Museumkaart and IAMsterdam card free

Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Woman on the Beach, 1887 © State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

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corner Nellie I twist old sheets of newspaper as you brush yesterday’s ashes through the grate build my wigwam of paper and sticks and flatten it with carefully selected coals you light a match and my mind flickers our trips to Scunthorpe for Lincolnshire sausages squeezing your wash through the mangle baking days when I licked out your bowl summer afternoons potting your jam flames subdued coals aglow my mind settles on your front room where you took off your apron to show me your photos from the War

Š Dave Thomas 2013

Dave Thomas & John Richardson Page 56

poetry/ The other field I sit taking score Under the deafening roar Of China landing furiously

Its dying engine swooshes weirdly in reverse Through the Amsterdam forest A cacophonic wind orchestra plucking out its spooky arrival song on each leaf A wide is called I mark down a cross 747 for 9 Lunch Š John Richardson 2013

Sentiment lost his sledgehammer smiled splintered her door apart

he slashed sought snatched stashed her jewels his prize he wrenched her heart but never caught her eye

Š Dave Thomas 2013

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Remembrance Ceremony Sat 8 Nov 10:30

All Britsoc members, friends and families welcome to attend

323 Commonwealth and Allied War Graves De Nieuwe Oosterbegraafplaats, Kruislaan 126, Amsterdam

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Join BritSoc

at the ‘i am not a tourist’

expat fair

Sunday 3 Nov at the Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam. The “i am not a tourist” Expat Fair at the Beurs van Berlage

in the heart of Amsterdam serves the international community living, working and studying in the Netherlands and has become an annual institution, catering for newly arrived expats, long-standing residents, individuals and families alike.

Those new to the Netherlands will

benefit from a comprehensive range of services, conveniently housed together under one roof. Topics include housing, employment, banking, tax and schooling, all running alongside an entertaining programme of performances and workshops. More experienced expats and long standing residents can enjoy food, entertainment, networking sessions, informative workshops and access to a wide range of groups and clubs. What’s more, international artist Jim Collier will exhibit his work. Professional visitors, concerned with international mobility, should not miss the chance to network amongst this years largest gathering of industry professionals. Whether you are new to the expat lifestyle or an old hand, Expatica’s fair is about easing and enriching your

life abroad, providing instant access to the international community.You don’t have to take our word for it; here are testimonials from a visitor and an exhibitor: Nicola McCall (visitor) “I hadn’t been to the fair for 5 years; I saw some familiar and some new faces and enjoyed the talks. It’s a great event and was busy even on the sunniest date I can remember! I think it actually re-energises a lot of us, stay put expats, when we meet others in similar situations, even if we’ve been around the Netherlands for a long time. For me, it was a ‘look how far I’ve moved on from when I first came moment’?” Expat Mortgages, Henk (exhibitor) “Thanks for a great fair and for all you hard work and efforts! It was our third attendance and we’re very pleased again!”

See video:

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events/ event/ Sun 3 Nov

By Abartitur Page 61

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FIRST ENGLISH LANGUAGE SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL IN THE NETHERLANDS: THE HAGUE SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL ..and who are the Women in Shakespeare? An accessible and original exploration presented in a sometimes different format. From 19 November until 2 December

2013 the first comprehensive Englishlanguage Shakespeare festival will be held in the Netherlands. The festival takes place in the Koninklijke Schouwburg (Royal Theatre) in The Hague with theatre practitioners hailing from the United States, Britain and the Netherlands. The festival opens on 19 November with the Dutch premiere of Shakespeare’s famous sonnet The Rape of Lucrece Page 64

by the Royal Shakespeare Company Studio in a music-theare adaptation by Camille O’Sullivan. Prior to the show, the Dutch company Het Vijfde Bedrijf (The Fifth Act) will show the first of four Impromptus. The Impromptus are short, surprising popup performances, all to premiere at the festival and scheduled to play at different times. The theme of The Hague Shakespeare Festival is Women of Will, derived

from the performances by Tina Packer and Nigel Gore (Shakespeare and Co., U.S.), which form the core of the festival. Nearly all of Shakespeare’s vast oeuvre will be covered in a surprising and original way. Tina Packer is an authority on Shakespeare. It is said that no woman has performed and directed more Shakespeare than she. It is a privilege to welcome her for the first time to the Netherlands. The festival aims to bring Shakespeare to the stage in an accessible yet exploratory manner, appealing both to people who are new to Shakespeare’s work as well as to the seasoned connoisseur and enthusiast. The theme Women of Will will be explored in many different ways.

GB) will all take on this scene with each two actors from the ‘other’ tradition. A public presentation in the Koninklijke Schouwburg will be on Sunday 1 December at noon. The festival was initiated by Sarah de Bruijn of Het Vijfde Bedrijf and Elske van Holk of STET The English Theatre, who are also the festival’s producers. The Koninklijke Schouwburg is involved as the third production partner and is providing the location. The festival has been supported by The Municipality of The Hague, Fonds Podiumkunsten, Shell, Siemens, Rabobank den Haag, Zabawas, Gravin van Bylandt, van den Berch van Heemstede.

In addition to the 12 performances, an extensive side programme is under development. The programme ranges from an educational programme for young people aged 5 to 18 years to a special business leadership skills workshop called Shakespeare and Leadership by MIT visiting lecturer Henriette Koomans as well as master classes by Tina Packer for theatre practitioners and drama teachers. The festival concludes with a directors’ meeting, in which the differences between Anglo-Saxon and continental (Dutch) interpretations of Shakespeare will be studied. Four directors will present Act 2, scene 1 from A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Titania and Oberon).Theu Boermans, artistic director of Het Nationale Toneel, Tina Packer (US Shakespeare and Company and Women of Will), Karina Kroft (Otis and A Midsummer Night’s Dream - NL) and Katie Lewis (assistant director to Greg Doran Royal Shakespeare Company – Page 65

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Storm in a clog

One of the most powerful storms in decades lashed the Netherlands in October with winds of more than 90 mph. Our Britsoc photopgraphy team went out after the aftermath to capture these photos. Do you have any photos to share? Send them to

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Two oranges eating a carrot in a sand storm Page 70

ZINE Magazine November 2013  

The monthly emagazine from the British Society of Amsterdam

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