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

Britsoc Mince Pies Recipe

Cooking Coach-Mince Pies

Britsoc Mince Pies Recipe

Mince Pies Recipe —Britsoc Cooking Coach

Yes, we have our very own Britsoc cooking coach. Here to tell you how to make the best mince pies in Christmas Land.

Karen3Karen 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.

Mince Pies

Not so much a recipe as a ritual.  I know Christmas is around the corner when I check my diary to find my yearly note to start making mince pies.  Yes, ok, it may seem crazy to some of you, but I do put notes in my diary about food.  And, it’s not just about getting prepared for special occasions, no, I write my main meal in my diary every day.

There is some method in my madness, it is about preparation, it’s so I can make a shopping list.  Anyway, I digress.  Back to the mince pies.  That little note in my diary to make mincemeat means that the house will start smelling like it should around the festive season.  The heady mix of spices and citrus that tells me friends will be arriving soon and the fact that it’s dark and cold outside no longer matters.

My mince pies are not just for Christmas, oh no! Actually they are consumed in my house much more on Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve) and on the Ne’er Day (New Year’s Day).  I think it’s something to do with the fact that a mince pie goes very well with a little glass of whisky (a wee dram), or even a port.

These are the drinks I associate with the warm anticipation of the bells at 12 midnight, and the party wind down, when it’s so late that it’s early, just one last drink, one for the road, and a mince pie to carry you off into slumber….and into your New Year.

See the entire menu here: Cooking Coach-Mince Pies


Beth’s Book Review

Beth’s Book Review

By Beth Johnson

Beth Johnson is a regular contributor to the Britsoc Magazine‚ The Zine, and is the owner of Boekhandel Van Rossum (Beethovenstraat 32 in Amsterdam), which sells a wide range of Dutch and English books.

The Bookshop BookTo celebrate and stimulate our thinking about our notion of the 21st century bookshop, I gave each of my employees a copy of Jen Campbell’s new work, The Bookshop Book. This author of Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops has written about more than 300 booksellers who are housed in barns, abandoned factories, boats, buses and railway stations in her new ode to the bookstore.

Bookshops are full of stories and booksellers want to share their passion for those tales with their customers. As we take this stand for the physical book.

Read the complete review from the Dec-Jan 2015 Zine Magazine here (pdf): Beth Johnson book review Dec-Jan 2015


Get a passport extension

If you’re living overseas, you can apply to extend your British passport for 12 months. Child passports can also be extended.

You won’t be charged any extra fees.

Countries and territories that accept extended passports

You can enter the UK with an extended passport.

Read a list of other countries and territories that will accept extended passports. The list will be updated regularly.

You should check that the country or territory you’re travelling to will accept extended passports – phone your nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.


All of the following must apply:

  • you’re outside the UK
  • you have a red passport
  • you haven’t already applied to renew your passport
  • your passport expired less than 6 months ago or will expire in the next 3 months (or in the next 7 months if you’re in or going to a country or territory that says you must have 6 months left on your passport)
  • your passport has at least 3 blank pages

Apply for an extension

  1. Complete the application form.
  2. The service is by appointment only – phone your nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission and select the ‘consular services’ option.
  3. Take your passport, application form (and 1 other form of photo identification if you have it) to your appointment – parents can attend on behalf of children, and husbands and wives can attend on behalf of each other.

Your passport will be extended for 12 months.

You may be eligible for an emergency travel document if you’re overseas, you don’t qualify for a passport extension and you can’t get a new or replacement British passport in time to travel.


Bonfire Night Promotional Material

Help us to promote Bonfire Night 2014 with these colourful posters and banners.

See below for all the different versions: website, normal print and professional digital printer versions.



Digital Web versions

Download A4 web version here

Download Large Horizontal banner  Size 1390 x 328

Square Banner: 480 x 328

Please point your banner to the following URL:

Digital print versions, ideal for small printers. 

Download A3 version here   Size: 29.7 x 42 cm or 11.69 x 16.53 inches

 Download  A4 version here    Size: 21  × 28 cm or 8.27 in × 11.02 in

 Download  A5 version here   Size: 14.8 x 21 cm or 5.8 x 8.3 in

Professional print versions with crop marks

Download quality A3 version here  

 Download high quality A4 version here

 Download high quality A5 version here


An Entertainment – A British Curiosity

An Entertainment – A British Curiosity

In the early 1920s a fresh-faced young composer joined forces with an eccentric upper-class poetess to produce a work which went on to become a stalwart of the British musical repertoire: Façade, a setting by William Walton of poems (recited, not sung) by Edith Sitwell. The texts are exotic, witty, and sometimes frustratingly obscure, but they always appeal to the ear and the imagination.

The music runs the whole gamut of styles from classical to dance-hall, and includes a hornpipe, tarantella, foxtrot and march, as well as some melancholy, quasi-blues numbers. Someone once described Sitwell as ‘the original rapper’, which may go too far, but given the combination of rhyme-inspired lyrics and often driving rhythms there is some truth in this. Walton went on to become a leading British composer, probably best-known for his Crown Imperial march.

This curious and fascinating work, subtitled ‘An Entertainment’ and written for reciter and 6 instruments, can be heard on:

September 28 in the Rode Zaal, Hogeschool Helicon, Den Haag, at 15.00

October 11 in the Synagogue in Delft at 20.15

October 19 in De Toonzaal in Den Bosch at 16.30 (Cocktail Concert!)

performed by the Ebony Ensemble and their conductor Michel Havenith, with Robert Coupe (former member of the Nederlands Kamerkoor, but British to the core!) doing the reciting.

Tickets can be ordered (and a flyer with more details viewed) via the Ebony Ensemble’s website:

Hope to see you there!

The next concerts of the Ebony Ensemble


Concerts in 2014:

Sunday, September 28, 2014, The Hague
Location: Red hall, Helicon University
Address: Riouwstraat 1, The Hague
Time: 15:00.
Programme: William Walton – ‘Façade, an Entertainment’
Details: concert house.
Tickets: click here .

Saturday, October 11, 2014, Delft
Location: Synagogue
Address: Koornmarkt 12, Delft
Start: 20:15 am
Program: William Walton – ‘Façade, an Entertainment’
Details: concert house.
Tickets: click here .

Sunday, October 19, 2014, Den Bosch
Location: The Showroom, Den Bosch |
Address: Prins Bernhardstraat 4-6, 5211 HE, ‘s-Hertogenbosch
Time: 16:30 am
Program: William Walton – ‘Façade, an entertainment
Tickets: click here .



One Minute Travel Stories: China

My experience of trying to explain what I did for a living to a Chinese man on a flight between Beijing and Shanghai.


Freaking awesome Amsterdam sunset

What a breathtaking welcome back to Amsterdam.

After a short weekend in the UK, I flew back to Amsterdam on Sunday night to be welcomed back by this gorgeous sunset.



Arkwright’s Amsterdam

British Food Store Arkwright’s Amsterdam has a new owner.

10367158_249826115219179_2020691359776904896_nArkwright’s is your true home from home, among its collection of goods, Arkwright’s offers Colman’s mustard, Aunt Bessie’s baking products, Cadbury’s Chocolates, Cheerios, Shreddies, Crunchy Nut corn flakes, HP sauce, Branston pickles, Irn-Bru and much more. They also stock premium Clonakilty Irish sausages and different types of bacon for those who crave an English breakfast. It is fully stocked with Christmas goodies, including Christmas Cakes, puddings, Brandy sauce, double and clotted cream, Christmas crackers, selection boxes, and more. The shop originally opened in 2001, but on 2013 changed ownership and has been rennovated and is now better than ever. Arkwright’s is conveniently located on the Rozengracht #13 – only 500m from Dam Square, and only 2 mins walk from the Westerkerk and the Anne Frank House.

Find us on Facebook @ ArkwrightsAmsterdam and on our webshop at

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