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

British Society Christmas Ball Theme

British Society Christmas Ball Theme

Theme: Iconic Britain?
Date: 12th December
Location: St. Olaf’s Chapel (Barbizon Palace Hotel, Amsterdam)

Tickets SOLD OUT
Get on the waiting list here

The theme of this year’s British Society Christmas Ball (Sold Out) is “Iconic Britain”. When I Googled this and looked at the images, I was unsurprised to find pictures of Union Jacks, Red telephone boxes, Black Cabs and Red double decker buses.

By Alison Smith

It got me thinking about what makes something truly iconic? According to Webster an icon is something which is:
a :  widely recognized and well-established <an iconic brand name>
b :  widely known and acknowledged especially for distinctive excellence <an iconic writer><a region’s iconic wines>

This gives leave to thinking that an icon can be an object or a person. To adhere to the definition “widely recognized” though we have to assume that a true icon is globally recognisable, not just in the country of origin, and what about being well established?

Iconic-Britain-shutterstock_110201744_webHas longevity got anything to do with becoming an icon? How else can an icon-in-waiting become well established?

As far as the British Icons found in Google images are concerned, red double deckers and black cabs etc. tick all the boxes. Instantly recognisable, tick! Been around for years, tick!

But what about people?
The Queen and  Sir Winston Churchill could be described as iconic, each for their own reasons, as they are instantly recognisable in image, word and deed, and they are established symbols of Britishness beyond the UK.

But what about Princess Diana? Or Twiggy?

I think they are also considered to be British icons but their longevity is not to do with length of life or time in the spotlight. In this case I think  it’s also to do with a lasting association. Princess Diana died young but made a deep impression on the country’s psyche and is instantly recognisable around the world. Twiggy represented an era of the swinging sixties, when Great Britain was at the centre of a fashion and music revolution, and her mini skirted, gamine image became a symbol of her age, an icon.
It’s funny, but a lot of what we might consider to be iconically British comes from the 1960’s.

Think of the music, The Beatles, The Stones, The Who  and The Kinks. The fashion, Mary Quant and mini skirts, hippy chic, Kings Road and Biba, not forgetting the cars, the E-Type Jaguar and of course the Mini.
I’m sure each decade has its own icons, Punk Rock in the 70’s, Margaret Thatcher and the power dressing 80’s, but I think the 60’s icons seem to be the first to spring to mind when British icons are mentioned.
The Christmas Ball this year has been called the Iconic Britain Ball and the first thing that came to my mind was all things Austin Powers, the swinging sixties and all that great music. It’s a black tie affair, so I don’t expect to see many mini skirts, but I’m curious to find out what’s in store.

Sent from my Mary Quant iPad


Tickets SOLD OUT
 Get on the waiting list here