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

Archive for June, 2016

Interview with Badhuis Theatre Director Mike Manicardi

Categories: Theatre
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By  Nick Nugent



Address: Boerhaaveplein 28, 1091 AT Amsterdam




Where are you from?

I was born near Watford F.C. to an Italian Father and Irish mother.


What is you do?

I run the Badhuis Theatre


Do you have family here?

I have 5 kids and my eldest daughter is 23.


How did you end up in Amsterdam?

I have now been working for 40 years as a theatre maker and actor.  It was really down to the fact I was a young actor on tour and I went to see a play at the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm with Nicol Williamson playing Hamlet.  Marianne Faithful was in it too.  Nicol Williamson was a famous Scottish actor known for being Merlin in Excalibur.  It was mind blowing for me as a young actor of 17/18 to see him and Antony Hopkins who was playing Claudius. At the bar afterwards a few people said you need to get yourselves off to Amsterdam it’s all happening over there.


This was 1976.  We had an arts council grant to go on tour all round British Isles as a young touring company and we got a call to come to Rotterdam at De Lantaren. We got paid 1,000 guilders for that which was amazing as we were mostly going around in a overfull Ford Transit, sleeping on people’s floors, (doing shows for 50 quid all the way to Glasgow and back) then suddenly to have 1,000 guilders was amazing.  We won an award for that performance.  After that we got a call from a promoter in Amsterdam and we played Melkweg and Paradiso.  The company was travelling backwards and forwards all over Europe between England, Scotland, Germany, Italy and Amsterdam.  We were a young company and were becoming successful, earning money was easy. That was the danger as we started to get lazy, as it was too easy to earn money and you would drop your standards.  So the company broke up and that’s how I found myself working as a teacher and independent actor/director remaining in Amsterdam.


What is the Badhuis Theatre?

We are an independent Community Theatre which is very well known concept in places like UK, Italy and France, but there is not so much of a tradition in the Netherlands.  Community theatre in UK earns it’s money 80% from sponsorship from local businesses and the businesses gain from the promotion of them supporting local theatre.  It is our aim to do this more in the future.  The Amsterdam city council is very interested in us, we have been here for more than 25 years as part of the community with very little public funding.  The local businesses love us because we bring people to them and vice versa .

Many art and theatre centres  in the Netherlands are falling down as they are subsidy “junkies” and the Government is cutting back on art funding and if they lose 20% of their funding their whole organisation falls apart.


I want to serve the community of Expats as they usually highly educated, very talented and with a great sense of humour.  They are looking for something which will bring them together and have a good time.  I don’t want to put on plays that make people want to commit suicide.  I’m a theatre manager that’s my job!


What are plans for the future?

We need to be open 7 days a week.  We are in the heart of a student village of 20,000 students here and we need to get the students and kids in during the day and put on music, workshops and plays during the night.


We are starting to renovate the whole theatre to make it more easy and multi use.

We do most of the building work ourselves , we have always had to be self-sufficient so we have a load of craftsmen and electricians in our technical staff.


You could run a set making course!

Yes, of course , why not, we have a brilliant guy coming from Leicester who makes great décor pieces and is making a Harp (see picture) for us right now to go on top of the theatre.

Our shows are in general artistic, alternative, but we combine this with mainstream.  People want to go out and see something of value. Without pretensions. We want to continue to offer something different but we also do mainstream shows in between.


What is your most favourite production you have put on?

There is no doubt is was “The Good Soldier Svejk.” (see foto) It was just so successful!  It’s a comic story set in 1880/90s, in middle Europe about this guy who is brilliant con artist to make excuses for not going to war.  We had Russian Director Vladimir Koifman who is very famous now on Russian TV.

We got great reviews, we sold out for a more than a month, 120 people per night, making a lot of people enormously happy.  We had a fantastic Polish folk band to play all the songs, a great director, the scenery was black and white and rotated like pages of a book.  At the time we didn’t have a penny and after that we were able to pay everyone properly. It was a big hit! We are thinking of bringing it back.


What other things does the theatre host?

For Liberation day we had an open theatre festival in the square outside with 500 local people and salsa band. Everyone loves the live bands we put on at the weekend, but we need to have better sound isolation so we can have more of them. That’s part of the investment plan this summer in the  building.

Recently we have had a group of 150 Czech people here for a party, we brought  Pilsner Urquell beer directly from German for them and sold come Czech food from our kitchen and they will probably come back again. We have often business lunches here for companies and following lunch they do workshops and have strategy days.


Who are the most famous people you have met?

Well I liked Alan, Alan Rickman, he was a mate of mine. We went to theatre school together, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and we were mates up to the point he sadly died.  Trevor Eve was also at theatre school with me.  Jonathan Price was a year ahead of me in school.  Also Jeff Wilkinson, calls himself Tom now. Alan, a few years ago, got involved with the education element for the RADA and we are also very interested in developing the education element of young performers.

What is your view on the EU referendum?

We are stuck in Europe you and me.  I’m not really sure what the definite advantages and disadvantages to staying in are.  All I hear is propaganda.  What struck me clearly was the difference between big and small business.  I heard about a small Scottish company making really good quality smoked salmon which they were selling to Norway mostly and last year they had to recall a huge amount of stock to relabel their product with the words “Contains Fish!” which cost them 50k.  I do worry the EU is uncontrollable and very big.


Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

We are a volunteer organisation. We all have day jobs. Without central funding. So we always need people to help, selling tickets, standing behind the bar, working with lights & sound, making programmes for kids etc..etc.. If you have an evening off send us a mail if would like to help and take part.

We are very generous with beer.




So what is coming up at the theatre?


Shakespeare Karaoke. THE TEMPEST. Fun reading from the big screen/ everybody takes part.

23 June 2016 – 20:15


The Shadow of a Gunman / PART3 Of the DUBLIN TRILOGY by SEAN o CASEY / English spoken.

30th of June till 3rd of July 2016 – 20:15


Sussex Steel band on the theatre terrace  FREE CONCERT

27 July 2016 – 16:00 (outside) and 20:00 (inside)


Ricciotti ensemble on the theatre terrace  FREE CONCERT

6 August – 14:00


Mike has offered a 25% discount on their latest production The shadow of a Gunman on the 3rd July 8:15.  Simply email Mike with the date you wish to go stating you are a British Society Member.



Address: Boerhaaveplein 28, 1091 AT Amsterdam

Chairman’s Corner June 2016

Categories: Britsoc Chairman
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Hello Everyone,

With the referendum looming large, many of you I’m sure, are worrying about what may happen. We will have a get together to discuss the outcome on the 24th in Cafe de Jaren. To join us see the details here:

EU referendum party: Celebrate or Commiserate depending on your view

Friday, Jun 24, 2016, 7:00 PM

Cafe de Jaren
Nieuwe Doelenstraat 20-22 1012 CP Amsterdam, NL

7 Britsoc Friends Attending

By the end of the day on the 24th we should know the outcome of the UK referendum on the EU.Whether you are for in or out come and have a beer with us and discuss the outcome.  There is no football on to distract you either.

Check out this Meetup →

Our little experiment with Meetup seems to be working quite well and we are now approaching 500 members on that tool.


If you have not checked it out yet then I would suggest you have a look.

British Society of Amsterdam

Amsterdam, NL
483 Britsoc Friends

The British Society organises events with a British flavour. A very social club, we’re open to people of every nationality who are looking to meet new friends, play sports and…

Next Meetup

Extra Players for Britsoc Tuesday Evening Squash

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2016, 7:00 PM
4 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →

I have a deal for you:

Boom Chicago are offering 2 for 1 tickets throughout the whole of June and July.  Simply click on the show you want select one ticket and you get the 2nd for free.


We recently went with a Meetup to their new show Angry White Men: Trump up the Volume, which was very different from their normal improv offering and pretty good!


Our Sailing has kicked off and all the details are on our events page:


Some of our lady members get together for a drink every second Monday of each month in the lounge bar of the IBIS hotel, the one next to Centraal Station, at 7pm. They have a glass (or two) of wine or a coffee and chat about what is going on in their  lives and the world in general.  They  are a (still quite small) group of ladies that have passed the first flush of youth so have plenty of experience of life to talk about. They would be happy if some other ladies would like to join.


By the time this is published the Euro 2016 will be well underway and I would like to wish all of our competing teams, England, Northern Ireland and Wales the best of luck for the tournament.


I have a couple of bob on England to reach the Semis!


Nick Nugent

The EU referendum

Categories: EU Politics
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What does a ‘Leave’ vote mean?

By Nick Nugent


We are heading for one of the most  potentially life-changing situations in any British Expat’s lifetime here in the Netherlands.  The EU referendum on the 23rd June.

I know many British citizens in the Netherlands are concerned about what will happen if the UK decides on a vote to leave.  If you want to read detailed advice  you can curl up with this light bedtime reading written for the government from here:

I am not a lawyer or financial expert, but I will try to summarise the situation as I see it which would occur if the UK votes to leave for all of us here in the Netherlands.  Three areas give us most concern.

  1. What happens immediately after a vote leave?
  2. Will my family and I be able to stay here?
  3. What happens to my assets?


p03kkql3What happens immediately after a vote leave?

The short answer is nothing, apart from a big party for Nigel Farage and some glum looking faces on the remain side.  Firstly the UK government is not bound by the referendum to do anything at all, but if they were to choose to do nothing or immediately try for another referendum then it would political suicide for the PM and a lot of the remain campaigners.  The second point is according to Article 50 of the treaty we have to apply to the EU with our intention to leave and then the clock  starts ticking.

There are three possibilities:

  1. We manage to come up with an exit plan and agree an exit date
  2. If no exit plan is approved within two years then all treaties will lapse unless;
  3. The EU members agree an extension to the current membership (one veto by a member state, however, can stop this!)

During this two-year hiatus with stock markets all over the place, with the doom and Armageddon prophecies as most remain campaigners would have you believe will happen, all of the treaties remain in place!  In fact, the EU would continue as normal and the UK would be subject to any new treaties which they came up with.  The UK would however no longer be invited to the EU meetings and cannot vote on any of this new legislature.  I not sure what is means for our MEP’s but maybe a fewer politicians is a good thing.


Will my family and I be able to stay here?

In the short term, of course, nothing will happen and then the next question is what sort of deal can we negotiate with the EU for the over two million or so UK citizens living in the EU.  The situation, if we get to the end of the two-year period and nothing has been agreed, looks something like the following:

  1. The UK could attempt to sign up to the EEA agreement which is the treaty which Norway, Iceland, and Lichtenstein operate for the free movement of EU citizens within their countries. This treaty is a replication of the EU free movement treaty. Apart from some caveats, the three countries involved have no control over EU Immigration, which is partly what the Brexiteer’s have been fighting for!  It would be unlikely the UK would go for this.
  2. The UK sign a similar bilateral deal as Switzerland has done, which restricts EU migrants. There is, of course, no way to know how long that would take and what EU restrictions would be placed on UK citizens.
  • No deal can be established after two years and, if an extension is not granted, we then enter the realms of “third country nationals” status.
    1. In this case, we would be subject to a mixture of EU and national immigration laws which could mean greater scrutiny at border points and the potential that we would need visas to enter EU countries in the case of travel.
    2. Those of us who have decided to remain in the Netherlands and want to go through the red tape then there are some EU mechanisms for controlled migration:
      1. Highly skilled workers can apply for the EU Blue Card, which is more restrictive compared to the freedoms we enjoy now.
      2. Unskilled workers would be subject to the domestic immigration laws.
  • Students would also have greater restrictions.
  1. British Citizens resident in the country for more than five years can apply for EU third country national status which again is less advantageous compared to the rights we enjoy now especially for bringing your families here.
  2. British Citizens without five years or wish to enter the Netherlands for the first time to remain here would be subject to the quota system for Third Party Countries.


What happens to my Assets?

Those of you have been here for a while have probably built up quite fair amount of assets such as a house and a pension.  In most of the scenarios were the free movement applies or you can obtain some EU status then there is no effect as you will be under EU law.  There is the possibility that if that if we revert to third party national status the terms and conditions for your financial instruments become more burdensome to administer.  It may also be that your costs will rise somewhat for healthcare for example.

The EU law of human rights and some international conventions should cover the ownership of assets and they should remain yours.  In the UK, however, if the Brexiteer’s get their wishes and manage to repeal the Human Rights Act the situation for our fellow EU citizens in the UK could be much more difficult.

If you are currently entitled to benefits, such as a state pension or disability payments, which is covered by the EU laws ( then the situation is less clear should an agreement not be found before end of the two year period.  In a brief search of the treaties between UK and the Netherlands, I have not been able to find anything other than the 1953 treaty on the matter, which is between EU states.  If in two years time all the reciprocal agreements lapse then any of you who are entitled to these through EU arrangements could lose that overnight.  If you rely on this then this could be quite a worry.

I will, however, repeat I am not a lawyer or financial expert and in the situation, should it come to it, I would strongly recommend getting sound financial or legal advice.

Potential political scenarios following a leave vote

As I mentioned earlier that David Cameron does not have to do anything following the vote but it would be political suicide.  He has already stated that he is not going to continue anyway so he could hold out till the end of his term and leave it to the next government.  Another possible option is that on a leave vote he could say that he tied his political life to a remain vote and it could potentially trigger his resignation.  This would leave the Conservative party with a choice of George versus Boris. Since George has aligned himself squarely with the remain campaign he would probably suffer in this vote and we would be facing a Boris-led Conservative government.  This would likely take 2-3 months delaying the government application to the EU to leave.  Nevertheless, in this scenario we would apply to leave.  There are some more extreme potentialities, such as this triggering a general election, which would take maybe six months to sort out and most likely return another Conservative government. They would maybe choose to follow the referendum result or maybe they might decide to possibly run another referendum to check the first one was correct.  I don’t wish to engage with the project fear, but if leave wins we enter a period of uncertainty for us all.


So there will be some genuine concerns following a vote to leave, but nothing will happen for around two years.  If you, like me, have not managed to learn Dutch and would fail the inburgering exam then we need to get our skates on and do that!  Other options include marrying an EU citizen in the next couple of years before you will come under the scrutiny of the inburgering police, but I would say marriage should be for life not just for EU membership!

Fingers crossed for the right result on the 23rd!


Nick’s Nosh | June 2016

Categories: Food and drink, Nick's Nosh
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By Nick Nugent

The Duchess ***

Spuistraat 172, 1012 VT, Amsterdam


Tel: +31 20 811 3322


Open daily from 11:00am


I guess this might be one you have all been waiting for?  The Duchess in some respects is the more spectacular sister restaurant of Mr Porter in W hotel. Again another one from the stable of the Entourage Group.  I have had this on my radar for about 4 months and with the visit of my sister I had the perfect excuse to arrange to go to this one.

A bit about the building as this is what really makes it for me.  It is the old KAS bank building on Spui.  The outside of the building is quite ok compared to the ugly telephone exchange building which the W hotel resides.  Is it the interior however which is the most spectacular.  If anyone of you had chance to visit the old KAS bank then you will see that they have retained much of the character of the old building.  This includes the high vaulted ceiling with the skylight, the old wooden clock, the marble tellers desks and the old vault door which is right behind the kitchen.  It is really pleasant place to be.

Screenshot 2016-06-19 10.37.21OK it looks good, but can the food live up to the supermodel good looks.  The short answer is no.  As with their sister restaurant Mr Porter they have gone for the sharing scheme.  In this case it worked better than Mr Porter as the menu is much more varied for mains.  The company I was with was more willing to try new things so that helped.  The waiter recommended for our group of 4 choosing up to 6 starters and we chose these five in the end:


Foie Gras Doughnut

If you don’t have any issues with the ethics of Foie Gras, then this was quite amazing.  It was basically a choux bun filled with what seemed like liquidised Foie Gras.  Booooom! Flavour explosion.

Scallops (x2)

I did not taste this but was assured it was very good.

Quinoa salad

This was tasty and fresh.  Good to have something this refreshing to go with the richer starters.

Sea bass carpaccio

Thinly sliced fish with a dressing.  Very nicely sliced dressing was good what more can you say?

Thinly sliced Octopus in Lemon Oil

I have never been a fan of octopus.  I just don’t think it’s easy to cook well and consequently most chefs get it wrong.  This seems to have been cooked for a decent amount of time and so the wafer thin slices tasted very octopus-y but could be got through in a couple of bites.  Other members of the group thought it was pretty good.

Crispy Whitebait with Aioli

This classic was done pretty well and most of our table enjoyed the first few handfuls.  After a while the batter became a bit chewy understandably.

One general comment was that everything we got was quite salty.  Not enough to complain about but on the edge.

I wanted to mention a few things about our fellow diners.  I went for an early sitting (18:45) since it was seemingly so full all the time, but my booking coincided with the hottest day of the year and no one wanted to be inside.  There was a couple at the bar and couple of gents in the lounge area when we arrived.  It was empty.  I think it could probably cope with around 120 covers seated with another 20-40 people around the bar and maybe up to 50 in the lounge.  After about 1 hour which was just as our starters were finishing the place started to fill up.  To my right were two couples in their late 50s very smartly dressed with the guys wearing the typical Dutch preppy style, but this time Miami Viced to the nines.  You know the linen jackets and loafers with no socks sort of thing.  Their partners were more conservatively dressed apart from the obvious display of bling.  We also around this time had an eastern European couple plonked next to us.  I cannot really tell you how the guy was dressed as his girlfriend, sat opposite me was dressed in typical high class hooker dress with boobs akimbo.  It was extremely distracting and even the 3 ladies I was dining with found it off putting.  There were quite a few flashes of nipple let me tell you.

Our surly eastern European couple next to us got offered a special mains of red snapper which we did not get offered.  The next time our waiter came passed I complained we did not get offered that and we might actually have quite liked in place of the salt baked Sea Bass.  The salt baked Sea bass was already underway and we would have chosen to stick rather than twist anyway, but .  I get slightly ahead of myself.

2016-05-07-20.23.04-copyMains we choose the following:

Salt Baked Sea Bass

There was an excellent performance with this, as the platter showing the salt crust was brought out with who knows what was underneath?  Then rather than as most restaurants do pull up a table, break the crust and serve it.  It was whipped away and the fillets turned up about 5 mins later with some lemon wedges and the cauliflower side.  Considering everything had been pretty salty up to this point it was a bit of surprise the salt baked fish actually needed some seasoning. .

Duchess-3Whole Roasted Spring Chicken

I know spring chicken is not big, this was really tiny however.  The bird has been served in 4 seemingly equal pieces.  If you got a bit of breast then you where ok, but the thigh pieces were really difficult to remove anything meaningful to eat.  It was not as tender as I would expect spring Chicken either.  This was served with the roasted potatoes.

Crispy Gnocchi with hot cherry tomatoes

This was probably the best dish of the mains in terms of flavour.  The gnocchi were slightly toasted on the outside and nicely soft on the inside and the tomato sauce was well balanced in terms of sweetness and acidity.  Served with the mushrooms.


Whole roasted Cauliflower with black olives

Love roast cauliflower, but hate the really strong olive flavour which was imparted by the olives.  Other guests who don’t have this aversion enjoyed it much more than I.

Roasted potatoes with Garlic and Sage

Terrible.  When will chef’s learn that waxy potatoes are awful for roasting? They were soggy, insipid and unpleasant to eat.

10 types of Mushroom

Relatively well-cooked mushrooms, what more can I say?

Again everything was borderline too salty front for me.


The chocolate explosion turned up as this ¾ sphere of ultra-thin chocolate about the size of a kids football open at the top.  The waiter proceeded to pour liquid nitrogen into it.  Then with black gloves on he picked it up and smashed it on the plate.  I was a little shocked.  I have video which I am not sure will be published alongside but you will get the whole picture from that.



The “explosion” was unfortunately the best bit.  There were nice bits and pieces but on the whole if you had given me a chocolate fondant I would have been happier.  I shared this with one of my guests and My sister has the Cheesecake sandwich they reported was very good.

OK bill please!

It was just as we were about to pay our waiter informed us that he had given us the desserts for free because of not offering the special. It was pretty lost on us by this point.

It is an impressive building and if like us you get some impressive looking people sitting around you then it can be quite entertaining.  The starters are pretty good and maybe we should have just had all of them instead of the disappointing mains.  I think unless I have a friend who really wants to go I certainly don’t need to go back.

The Beer Hunter June 2016

Categories: Beer, Food and drink
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Café Genootschap der Geneugten

By Andy Symmonds

P1010812This fine café is probably not well known to that many beer drinkers unless they also have a passion for meat from the grill. I say this as it is discreetly hidden just off the busy Leidsestraat on Kerkstraat amongst an eclectic assortment of other businesses. Many people will discover this gem of a café as it doubles as a waiting room for Café de Klos, which is situated almost opposite on Kerkstraat. As there is regularly a queue for Café de Klos, this makes Café Genootschap der Geneugten probably the best waiting room in the world.

You walk from a relatively busy street into a bar that evokes the atmosphere of days long past, with lots of wood and beautiful art deco lights, a rich selection of beer glasses with other beer related memorabilia and an immaculately dressed barman. It turns out that this is one of those rare establishments in Amsterdam where you can enjoy good customer service without paying through the nose for the privilege. Courteous service with a smile and drinks delivered to the table are all part of the experience.

P1010815The café / bar has six different beers available from the tap and another 15 bottled beer, including the remarkably tasty Fullers IPA if you find yourself yearning for a taste of home (well, for Londoners anyway). Three of the beers are house beers. De Manke Monnik is a cheeky tripel weighing in at 7.2% abv, but it has a lovely rich flavour and is well worth spending some time over. The Bittere Neel is the other end of the scale, and is a pale ale with only 3.8% alcohol but mysteriously still manages to pack some great flavour with clear hoppy tones. The need for sobriety meant that extensive testing was not going to be a smart idea, but most readers will be no stranger to either Amstel (more flavour than its sister beer, Heineken) and the perennial favourite La Chouffe (a force of nature according to the large advert on the wall).

P1010821Café Genootschap der Geneugten do sell a range of tasty bar snacks, but if you’re looking for food you need to pop over to Café de Klos (with the best ribs in the known universe IMHO). If you are looking for a gezellig bar with an interesting if not over extensive range of beers with good service then it’s time to plan a visit. You can find the café at Kerkstraat 54, 1017 GM Amsterdam.  The website is:

Many thanks to the knowledgeable and very helpful Yannick for spending the time to answer some questions and an interesting chat about the history of IPA.

My prayer has been answered in the shape of a cod

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Homemade Sauces and Sides, Desserts and More. Mix that with our selection of Craft Beers, Funky Cocktails and the cool vibe of Cafe Scrapyard and we will be sure you will have an experience to remember.


a4fb04_4cd8fa3b902d40d082b50acb211d2968-mv2_d_5723_3793_s_4_2By Alison Smith

When I saw this advertised I was over the moon, then immediately sceptical.  Proper Fish and Chips are one of the top five things I miss from the UK, but many have tried and failed to bring this British “delicacy” authentically to the Netherlands.  I think the nearest we got was Al’s Plaice (now closed for business) but he just didn’t have enough footfall to do it properly.  The Seafood Bar has a good go and will even bring out the Sarson’s malt vinegar, but it’s not quite “it”.

IMG_1793I immediately signed up for the Facebook updates to follow progress and I started to get a little bit more excited when I saw the menu, which contained some pretty authentic-sounding items such as mushy peas and scraps. (Oh the nostalgia of asking for chips and scraps as a kid, trying to get as much for my pocket money as I could, with only 10p burning a hole in my pocket.) Reading on I also found curry sauce, chip butties, battered sausages, pickled eggs and, wait for it, yes, deep-fried Mars bars!  I’ve never had one and they sound disgusting, but it gave me hope that finally, this time, someone would get it right.

Another pleasing discovery was that the Fish and Chips were being married to one of my other favourite things – cocktails.  Great-sounding drinks like Licence Tequila, Puns and Roses, and Peachy Blinders plus Posh Gins and Craft Beers – this was starting to sound a little like paradise.

I decided I would wait and give The Chippy the ULTIMATE trial. My friend since schooldays, Denise, fellow Yorkshire Lass and the girl who would pool her last 5p to share chips and scraps outside Woodger’s chippy, was coming to visit.  If D thought it was good, that would be high praise indeed.

a4fb04_18811a80df8d4920926895fc8e6b1c0e-mv2_d_6016_4000_s_4_2We went along on a Friday night and the place was already packed.  Good sign.  There was a bit of confusion on arrival, as we entered at the same time as a large group of 5 or 6 people, so the girl in charge assumed we were all together and we didn’t get seated.  Then, with all the spare tables gone, we were offered a seat at the bar, which gave us an excellent view of what was coming out of the kitchen and we could watch while the barman lovingly made cocktail creations. In the end we decided to eat at the bar and this was quickly sorted out.

We both went for cod and chips, mushy peas and, yes, you guessed, one portion of scraps, for old time’s sake.  Oh…and a posh gin and tonic each.  I’ve never had a G&T with fish and chips, as I would normally have mine with a strong brew, but I have to say it went very well together.

a4fb04_c4ae2fa46e874f3f90157d7c9883badf-mv2_d_4741_2919_s_4_2The service was slightly chaotic but very friendly and helpful and it was the first week of opening so understandable that everyone was just finding their feet. Everyone seemed buzzed up and happy to be there and that energy was infectious.

Our food arrived and I have to say, my prayers were answered.  Finally! Proper fish and chips in Amsterdam.  Proper crispy batter, proper double dipped chips, yes the Sarson’s vinegar was there, and the scraps were delicious and gave us both a fit of nostalgia. It all looked and tasted just as it should.  I have read some of the customer reviews and some people were making comments about the size of the fish being too small.  I couldn’t have eaten a full portion if I had been served a bigger piece of fish as it’s a filling meal with all the chips and the batter.

The only thing that needs tweaking in my humble opinion is the mushy peas, which were more like crushed garden peas with (I think) crème fraiche, and they were cold.  I know some people like these “posh peas” but to me, mushy peas should be the marrowfat kind, soaked overnight with bicarb and simmered to perfect mushiness for about 25 years!  My friend D said she would bring some in her suitcase for the chef next time she’s over, but for the rest, this restaurant made a couple of Yorkshire Lasses very happy.  I’ll definitely be back and hope that this place (notice I didn’t use the obvious pun!) will stick around and keep on serving ‘em up, hot and fresh… with proper mushy peas.





Postcard from The Hoge Veluwe National Park 

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By Dee Bodle


2012_Wild_zwijn__Zeug_Hans_DrijerOn first visiting the park I did not realise how big it is as the park covers 5,500 hectares of woodland, heath, grasslands and shifting sands, and it is the natural habitat for deer, moeflon and wild boar. We were there in September when it was the mating season for deer and we were lucky enough to get really close up and personal with them.

image1There are White Bicycles (1,800 in total) in the park that are free to use and they are stationed at the three entrances, the visitors’ centre and the museum. After parking the car, we went into the visitors centre where we were invited to watch a video on the deer and their life cycle. We then went on a guided tour on the free bicycles to see the deer in their own habitat.

Herten_bronst_Erich_Marek_924_editThe viewing points around the park are fabulous to see the deer and obviously the mating calls can be heard throughout the park.

There is a variety of activities that takes place in the park all year round, such as safaris and walks led by the forester, lectures, Horse Day and regional markets with specialities of the Veluwe.

2012_Wim_Weenink_(14)The Hoge Veluwe National Park recommends that you can combine your trip with a visit to the Kröller-Müller Museum as the sculpture garden is one of the largest in Europe and throughout the garden there are over 160 sculptures by iconic artists.

The second-largest Van Gogh collection in the world is also held at the Kröller-Müller Museum which has over 90 paintings and over 180 drawings. The Van Gogh Gallery displays varying selections of about 40 works by Vincent van Gogh and you will also find masterpieces by other modern masters such as Claude Monet, Georges Seurat, Pablo Picasso and Piet Mondriaan.


Beth’s Book Blog | June 2016

Categories: Beth's Books, Books
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Young Adult

9781101998298_Riverkeep_HC_CvLib.inddThe Scottish (Young Adult) fantasy Riverkeep by Martin Stewart is a debut inspired by the rivermen of Glasgow and has already been compared to Herman Melville’s Moby Dick and Game of Thrones. Nearly sixteen, Wulliam is preparing to take on his father’s responsibilities as Riverkeep, tending the river and rescuing bodies from the watery deep.  But when his father’s body is invaded by a sinister spirit, Wull sets out on a dangerous quest to find the great sea-monster, the mormorach, which may be able to save his father. This is a terrific debut, and has the feel of a future classic.


we-all-looked-up-9781471124556_hrWe all Looked Up, the debut Young Adult novel by Tommy Wallach of Brooklyn, NY tackles teen issues in a world in which the asteroid Ardor is expected to collide with Earth within two months.  Four Seattle high school students try to determine the meaning of their lives in a society which begins to vacillate between anarchy and an emerging police state, between end-of-the-world partying and ethical dilemmas. Two months to discover what is really important in life.

lie_tree-xlarge_trans++Ecdmp8g_QXGoofzFP1iv1nbtwsyAseKiOxN7NjU1zMYThe prestigious British Da Costa Award of 2015 went to The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge. This brilliant Victorian fantasy with a gothic darkness takes place ten years after Darwin has announced his theory of evolution, throwing both religion and the study of natural sciences into turmoil.  The  bright but underestimated daughter of an esteemed Anglican minister and scientist comes into her own when her father mysteriously dies and she investigates his death and his legacy, the chimerical Lie Tree.  An ingenious and exciting (young) adult thriller with supernatural elements.

24934065Part cowboy Western and part Arabian Nights, Rebel of the Sands is a thrill of a read with elements of dynastic conflict, romance and mythical djinns.  Alwyn Hamilton’s debut novel is terrific fun and it is, fortunately, the first in a planned series. Ideal adventure for 12+.


9780803739758_Forb1A0493D7The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler is the first in a children’s series (10 to 13) but most fantasy readers of all ages will love the premise of  Readers in the dangerous world of an extraordinary library.  Alice is sent to be an apprentice to Uncle Geryon and discovers that when she is drawn into a book she is literally living the story – and needing to develop skills to fight off the dangers she encounters.  The rip-roaring storytelling continues in the even faster-moving follow-up, The 91e2QyrnjcL-671x1024Mad Apprentice. And the author is far from finished with his tales!



Beth in her bamboo garden





Beth Johnson is the owner of Boekhandel Van Rossum (Beethovenstraat 32 in Amsterdam). Beth writes about and sells a wide range of Dutch and English books for children, young adults and mature readers.

Beth would also be delighted to receive feedback about her book recommendations.
Send Beth a Feedback Email
Beth would love to hear feedback from you.

Thai Glazed Salmon | Cooking Coach | June 2016

Categories: Cooking Coach
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By Karen Vivers


Thai Glazed Salmon

Having done this for a few years now – creating recipes, sharing them, publishing them I mean.  I’ve come to realise that certain recipes hit the spot with people and others go by seemingly unnoticed.  So, I decided to try working with all those statistics provided by my website and here’s some things I found out:-

  • Salmon recipes get up to 10 times more hits on my website than other recipes. They get the most comments and shares on social media too.
  • Recipes containing chilli and spices get a lot of attention from British people and not so much from Americans or other Europeans.
  • Quick recipes (taking less than half an hour to prepare and cook) are always a hit.
  • Marinades and glazes are very popular in Netherlands, UK, Ireland, USA, Canada and Germany.
  • The more ingredients, the less interest.

Apart from the hard numbers, I’ve heard lots food and cooking dilemmas over the years.  When talking to  about food, lots of folks get quite posh and technical but when it comes down to what they actually want to cook and eat, it can be very different.  Most people will rhyme off all sorts of fancy stuff they’ve seen and heard on TV, but then will tell me that they just want to do something tasty with a piece of salmon, or they want to learn how to make a good tomato sauce for pasta or a nice comforting meal that they can have ready quickly after a long day.   With all that information in mind, I had a look through my ever growing list of recipes and found this one which I think should tick all those boxes.


Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes


Ingredients for 4 Servings

700gr / 1.5 lb. of skinless salmon filet sliced into strips of about 2cm / just less than an inch thick

2 x tbsp of sunflower oil

4 x spring onions chopped finely (keep a little back to dress the dish)

1 x red chili chopped finely

50gr / 1.7 oz. of fresh ginger sliced julienne (matchsticks)

2 x garlic cloves chopped finely

4 x tbsp of sweet chili sauce

Juice of one lime

2 x tbsp honey

2 x tbsp Thai fish sauce

To Dress

Some fresh coriander leaves, lime wedges and spring onion.



  1. Heat the oil on a high heat in a heavy-bottomed frying pan.
  2. Season the salmon with a little salt and when the oil is hot place the salmon filets in the pan. They should sizzle a bit but not too aggressively.  Cook the salmon on each side for about 3 minutes.  Be careful not to overload the pan, if you have too much salmon, then cook it off in batches.
  3. While the salmon is cooking you can prepare the glaze mix by measuring the chili sauce, honey, lime and fish sauce into a bowl and mix through with a fork.
  4. Remove the salmon from the pan and set aside on a clean plate.
  5. Put your pan straight back on the heat and add the spring onions, garlic, ginger and chili to the pan and fry off for a minute or so.
  6. Add the glaze mix, stir through and let it bubble and reduce for a couple of minutes until it is quite thick and syrupy.
  7. Serve the glaze poured over the salmon with the spring onions and coriander and a few lime wedges on the side for squeezing.


Tips and Variations

  • You can make this glaze to cover chicken to. I like to use chopped chicken breast, but I don’t remove the chicken from the pan to make the glaze.  I also prefer this version with soy sauce instead of fish sauce.
  • Serve with rice noodles.


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 Tasting Tours in Amsterdam, is a passionate food blogger, writer, author of “Love Food, Live Healthy”  and works freelance as a Business Consultant, specialising in small and medium food businesses, helping them get started, grow and deal with commercial challenges.


Love Food, Live Healthy is ideal for those of us who really enjoy our food, but want to eat consciously without compromising on flavour. Packed with over 100 recipes, this book has lots of practical cooking and healthy eating tips. Designed for cooks of all skill levels, whether you love cooking or just love eating! 

The Cooking Coach 

Love Food, Live Healthy


Father’s Day Family Charity Concert

Categories: Charity and Giving, Music
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The Tara Bodong Foundation presents:

A family charity concert to celebrate Father’s Day

Sunday 19 June 2016


Yoshimi Kawai

Yoshimi Kawai

Featuring Pianist, Yoshimi Kawai who will be playing pieces from our favourite films … Handel,Mozart, Beethoven,Schubert, Chopin,Debussy and more.

After successful appearances in Europe, Yoshimi gave an outstanding performance at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam last November, where she shared the stage with internationally acclaimed pianist and composer Tempei Nakamura. She recently released her first CD entitled: Heart to Heart

– Passage of Life



Also performing will be Claire Wirtjesfrom Kinderen voor Kinderen.

Come and toast all fathers at our special Roland Vizeneux champagne bar. Forms will also be on hand for you to order your personal stock.

Available: Refreshments, including fresh strawberries and cakes on sale, Tara Bodong stall with new scarves and  other merchandise.

There will be a complimentary  babysitting service  for children 4 – 10 yrs old.


Your contributions will help us complete our girls’ school in NE India. We need your support!

Tara Bodong is pleased to host this special concert at the newly renovated Muziekcentrum van de Omroep (MCO)

– the first recording studio in the Netherlands and where music greats such as Ella Fitzgerald and Oscar Peterson commanded the mike.


Date: Sunday 19 June 2016 at 14:00 – 15:30 (doors open at 13:30)

Venue: Muziekcentrum van de Omroep (MCO) Heuvellaan  33, 1217  J L Hilversum

Cost: €15,00 (children under 10 years free)


Tickets online:


Screenshot 2016-06-18 16.57.30