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

Archive for December, 2014

British Consulate Services Amsterdam

Categories: British Consular
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The British Consulate in Amsterdam provides essential services and consular assistance to British nationals in the Netherlands & the Dutch Caribbean.

Listed below is a summary if where we can and cannot provide consular assistance. Click here for a complete description     

In addition to the services listed above we can also:

  • provide information about transferring funds
  • provide appropriate help if you have suffered rape or serious assault, are a victim of other crime, or are in hospital
  • help people with mental illness
  • do all we properly can to contact you within 24 hours of being told that you have been detained
  • offer support and help in a range of other cases, such as child abductions, death of relatives overseas, missing people and kidnapping
  • contact family or friends for you if you want
  • make special arrangements in cases of terrorism, civil disturbances or natural disasters

What our consulates cannot do for you

Although we try to help British nationals in a wide range of situations, we cannot:

  • get you out of prison, prevent the local authorities from deporting you after your prison sentence, or interfere in criminal or civil court proceedings
  • help you enter a country, for example, if you do not have a visa or your passport is not valid, as we cannot interfere in another country’s immigration policy or procedures
  • give you legal advice, investigate crimes or carry out searches for missing people, although we can give you details of people who may be able to help you in these cases, such as English-speaking lawyers
  • get you better treatment in hospital or prison than is given to local people
  • pay any bills or give you money (in very exceptional circumstances we may lend you some money from public funds, which you will have to pay back)
  • make travel arrangements for you, or find you work or accommodation
  • make business arrangements on your behalf

Click here for fuller description of all our services on the Britsoc Website)


Services of the British Consulate Amsterdam 

Address and opening hours British Consulate Amsterdam 


British Consulate General Amsterdam

Koningslaan 44
1075 AE Amsterdam

Documentary and notarial services by appointment only

Access and opening times


Marks & Spencer Christmas Delights

Categories: M&S
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M&S Christmas must havesMarks & Spencer stores


Our world class multi-channel store is located in the heart of Amsterdam’s shopping district. Alongside M&S’s outstanding quality food, customers can browse and buy the latest London style, experiencing the future of retail with up-to-the minute technology at M&S’s new E-BOUTIQUE

Marks & Spencer Kalverstraat >


Marks & Spencer The Hague

Our new store in The Hague offers a wide assortiment of stylish fashion for the whole family. Discover a wide range of delicious products in our Food Hall, which also boasts a bakery and after all the shopping make sure you also indulge in a well deserved break at the Marks & Spencer Café.

Marks & Spencer The Hague >


Marks & Spencer food at BP

From September 2014, Marks & Spencer Food will also be available at six BP petrol stations in the region of Utrecht, The Hague and Amsterdam. The Marks & Spencer Food range at BP consists of around 700 products, including chilled prepared meals, British favourites such as Scottish smoked salmon and steak, Cheddar cheese, shortbread, scones and crumpets, sandwiches, salads, snacks for every occasion and much more.


MA R K S A N D S P E N C E R . E U / F O O D


Real Meaning of Christmas

Categories: Christmas, ZINE Magazine
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The Real Meaning of Christmas

By Canon Mark Collinson, Christ Church Amsterdam

2014 has been marked by the centenary anniversary of the start of the Great War in 1914. Remembrance Sunday is always significant for Brits, not least because of the seriousness with which Queen Elizabeth II takes the ceremony at the Cenotaph in London.

Ceremonies in the Netherlands and across Europe have taken place remembering the lives of those who died not just in the First World War, but in all wars since then. Apparently, despite the scientific progress of humanity, the twentieth century saw more people die in wars and internal conflict than any previous century. Even if this was a smaller proportion of the world’s population than in previous centuries, it gives little cause for comfort.

A couple of weeks ago I was privileged to be part of the MH17 National Commemoration in the RAI. I met some of the British and local relatives of the 298 innocent victims. They were victims of someone else’s war – as is so often the case of civilians caught in the crossfire. It was moving to hear about how they realised that their loved ones were on that flight, and what it meant to face the loss of a son or daughter, a sister or brother. I give credit to John Cameron-Webb, the British Consul, and his team, for their excellent organisation in getting the relatives of the British victims to that event.

There is so much tragedy in the world – so much bad news that hits the headlines.  It’s not so often that the peacemakers get remembered and celebrated. Where is the good news this Christmas?

You may have heard of the story of the Christmas truce on the first Christmas Day of the First World War. It had been agreed to have a day off from fighting, and when one soldier kicked out a football in to no-man’s land, it resulted in a kick around between the two sides. (It is reported the Germans won 3-2).

Christmas is traditionally a time when we remember peace and goodwill. A time to stop fighting, and make peace, and find some stillness in your heart. This is because the real meaning of Christmas is found in connecting with Jesus Christ. Christians claim that he was the son of God, born as a completely normal human being, but who has as much God in him as you could possibly pack into a person. People who met him were healed, set free from the past experiences that had wounded them, and everyone wanted to invite him to their parties. Jesus was a peacemaker, who also made the ultimate sacrifice – that of giving his own life so that others can live.

It’s a bit of a mystery how Jesus’ life, death and resurrection still reverberate with people today. Christmas is the time when we remember his birth, by pitching up to church and singing a few carols. I encourage you to connect with any of the various English-speaking services happening this Christmas.

Click here to read the complete story from the Zine magazine.

Under Five’s Open Morning

Categories: Education
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Under 5’s Open Morning – Thurs 22 Jan

We are pleased to announce that on Thursday January 22nd we will be running an Open Morning of interest to families with children under 5 years old.

Whether it is your first child, second, or third, starting school is always a momentous occasion but one that often brings about a range of questions. Our Open Morning provides the ideal opportunity to get those questions answered. The morning will start at 09:30with a presentation and question and answer session covering the main aspects of our Foundation Stage including our curriculum and our approach to learning and child development. The presentation will be followed by a tour of the School during which you will visit classes and get a feeling for the atmosphere in the school on a regular school day.

We appreciate that every child and family situation is different; for some children, this will be their first experience of spending time without either of their parents, others will be transitioning from a day care system. Some children may be fluent in English, whilst others may not speak a word. Our specialist staff will be on hand all morning to answer any questions you may have related to your child starting school for the first time.

Please click here to register if you wish to attend.

Click the link for campus directions.


Britsoc Mince Pies Recipe

Categories: Food and drink
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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

Categories: Books
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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