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

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Beths Books

Categories: Beth's Books, Britsoc Magazine, Literature
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The announcement of the finalist for the Man Booker Prize 2016 is rapidly approaching. I have read two of the short list contenders – Hot Milk and Eileen. Hot Milk, written by Deborah Levy, is a complex tale of the push-pull of mother-daughter dependency. Situated in southern Spain where Sofia has brought her mother for treatment of an indefinable occasional paralysis, the book is a brilliant example of two unreliable narrators, each trapped in the fury of their bodies, and their angry relationship. Levy has won numerous awards for her works of fiction and her playwriting.

deborah-levy-hot-milkottessa-moshfegh-eileen Otessa Moshfegh, an American of Croatian and Iranian descent, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the winner of the Pen Hemingway Award. Her main character, Eileen Dunlop, is the product of a loveless marriage; she dreams of escaping the poor and dreary New England town where she has been raised by an alcoholic father. Her chance arises when she meets the self-confident and cheerful Rebecca at the local prison where both young women are working. But the crime Rebecca has plotted threatens a complicity which Eileen has not considered – but which suits her urge to leave her life behind her. This is a dark and clever novel by an original new author.



The Man Booker Prize will be announced on October 25th. All of the titles are available in Boekhandel van Rossum.

The Australian author, Graeme Simsion, who delighted readers with his hilarious yet compassionate books The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect, bases his brand new novel on the songs which define our lives. The author recommends we download his playlist before we begin. This is a trip down memory lane. In The Best of Adam Sharp, Adam is a contented fifty-year old consultant who thrives on his musical expertise at the local Norwich pub-quiz and dreams of his three-month affair twenty years earlier with Angelina in Melbourne, Australia. But the What-ifs begin to dominate his life when Angelina suddenly contacts him. What to do with his life now? A surprising look at the ups and downs of existence from a terrific writer.

Jonathan Safran Foer, best known for his novels Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Everything is Illuminated, has now produced the great American Jewish novel in his epic, 500 page Here I Am. Despite criticism for its length, the book is a masterpiece of virtuoso writing. Foer crawls into the skin of his narrator as he observes his marriage crumbling, his sons not responding to the carefully planned upbringing of the perfect parents, his Israeli relatives reflecting a totally different Jewish lifestyle. This is some of the best characterization in I have seen from Foer. This is a hip, perceptive, shocking, frustrating mammoth of a book which will make you laugh and cry.

Don’t miss Ian McEwan’s new book which apparently is a take-off on Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The main character is a foetus in the the womb of his mother who is determined to murder her husband and marry his brother, her lover. He is close to being an all-knowing narrator, something of a trick when he is still in utero. As unlikely as the scenario is, McEwan carries it off with his usual brilliance.

My absolute favourite of the season, however, is Amor Towles new book A Gentleman in Moscow.

Count Alexander Rostov, living in splendor in his hotel suite of the Hotel Metropol in Moscow, is informed some five years after the Russian Revolution of 1917 that he has become a non-person and will be required to move to the hotel attic. Ever the gentleman who takes everything in his stride, the Count resigns himself to permanent house arrest and then proceeds to make the most of it. This is a lovely, warm, funny, tragic story of how one survives one’s time while remaining ever the gentleman. A wonderful read.

Hello Everyone,

Welcome to our sizzling September edition of the Zine.  Now the heat is slowly subsiding we can look forward to our exetensive programme of Autumn and Winter events.

We recently held our AGM on 1st September which is a bit earlier than normal.  There are few changes to the society to which were agreed at the meeting.  I would like to thank our outgoing Treasurer, William Tweddle thanks for his many years of service and would like to welcome on board Rupert Apthorp as our new treasurer.

There are a a number of other things we have agreed in the meeting such as our commitment to free membership for the coming year.  We have also created some new committee positions.

Since the relationship with English speaking schools is very important to us, we have created school liasion positions on our committee so they can have their say in what would interest their families and staff for social events and get togethers. It is a pleasure to welcome Paul Morgan the new Principal of the British School of Amsterdam on our committee and we hope to feature an interview him soon.  We are still looking for liasions for the other English Langauge schools in Amsterdam and surroundings.  If you are representative of the school be it teacher or parent and would like to join our board and give the British Society some direction then we would be happy to welcome you.  We meet around 4 times per year to discuss the Society.

We have also created the position of Events Coordinator.  This is a new position and at the moment remains unfilled.  If you are a dynamic person with some free time on your hands and would like to organise social events with the financial backing of our organisation then this is the job for you.  Please feel free to contact me at

Our Autumn/Winter season is the busiest we have.  Please keep your eyes peeled for the following:

Expactica Fair – 2nd October, Beurs van Berlage

We need a bit of help on the stand so if you dont mind standing around for a couple of hours I can promise a couple of free drinks are in it for you.  Please contact me a

Expatica Ad

Booming Business 3 – 12th October, Boom Chicago (TBC)

Bonfire Night 2016 – 6th November


Glitz & Glamour Charity Ball – 10th December


The las 2 events are our to premier events and sell out extremely quickly please do not be dissapointed.  Tickets go on sale very shortly.

For our smaller events please see our Meetup site:

We have our sports clubs, comedy nights, curry nights and many other events which we get exclusive discounts and special offers for our members.

British Society of Amsterdam

Amsterdam, NL
976 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, Nov 6, 2018, 7:00 PM
1 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →

Nick Nugent

Self Inflicted Wounds

Categories: Britsoc Magazine, EU Politics
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By John Richardson

While history holds many lessons in the fine art of the self-inflicted wound (SIW), I think July 2016 will go down as our biggest bloodbath to date.

SIW#1: This month saw the Nation mark 100 years since the Battle of the Somme

The Battle of the Somme began at 7.30am on 1 July 1916 and lasted for 141 days, resulting in over one million casualties on all sides.


The first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1 July 1916, saw the heaviest loss of life in a single day’s fighting in British military history. The entire battle lasted until 18 November 1916 and eventually caused over a million casualties. By the end of the battle, in November 1916, the British had lost 420,000, the French lost nearly 200,000 men and the Germans 500,000. Many speak of the “lost generation”, finding it difficult to justify the near 88,000 Allied men lost for every one mile gained in the advance.


SIW#2:  We also saw the spectacular stabbing in the back of Boris Johnson by Michael Gove, only to kill his own chances of success. 


The world reacts:

“There’s a deep pit in Hell reserved for you, Michael! Boris Johnson allies react with fury”

Meet Michael Gove, the man who just turned British politics into an episode of ‘House of Cards’ “




SIW#3:  Brexit’s bloodbath

But as I look at the bloody aftermath following the Brexit vote to leave the UE, I’m struck not only by the ghastly behaviour of our leaders, but also by the fact that there was no actual contingency plan following the Leave vote. As a consequence, the pound today replaced the battered Argentine peso as the world’s weakest leading currency. Oh, and the Brexit panic has wiped $2 trillion off world markets.


SIW #4: Nigel

So now that he has done what he set out to do,  Nigel Farage has reportedly been offered £250,000 to be dropped in the jungle for the next series of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!

Mr Farage, who announced this week he was stepping down as Ukip leader after the Brexit vote, has been offered the huge sum this week, the Mirror reports.

A source told us:

“It would be TV gold to see Farage chomping on kangaroo anus or a turkey testicle in a Bushtucker trial.”

If confirmed, the 52-year-old would be the latest in a string of politicians who have undergone the show’s dreaded trials. Previous contestants included Lembit Opik, Edwina Currie and Nadine Dorries, along with ex-Ukip politician Robert Kilroy Silk.

SIW #4: Iceland

To add insult to further self-injury, one that was wholly avoidable, we led our lads onto the field and played the world’s worst game of football ever witnessed and then got deservedly and royally thrashed by Iceland.

SIW #4: Our Tony

Tony BlairYes, I saved the best example of SIW until last.

Sir John Chilcot concluded that Mr Blair had overstated the case for military action in March 2003 as there was “no imminent threat” posed by Saddam Hussein and it was not the “last resort”.

Others think him a zealot driven by vast self-belief and an urge to save the world.

A brief look at the former prime minister’s influence on global affairs and its terrible consequences and I concluded that he is deluded, messianic, needy, narcissistic and very rich. And so, parading around in his silk jim jams he has concluded that he would “Do it all again” and that the 150,000 lives were not lost in vain.

When I contacted his office to offer him a luxury holiday in Iraq I was told that I was out of my mind.


Chairman’s Message | June 2015

Categories: Britsoc Chairman, Britsoc Magazine
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By Ian Cherington


Dear members,

Regretfully it seems that we will not be holding our popular “Mass Blind Date” event this year, as we have no volunteers stepping up to organise it.

I sincerely hope that this will change and that we can maintain the level of dedication to our Society.

Our events cannot happen without the efforts of our members and we are very grateful for all the time and energy spent by our teams.

We have been in close contact with the organisers of the recent Rugby 7’s tournament, held in Amsterdam over 3 days, where we featured the event here in the Britsoc Magazine and had a special offer for tickets for our members. I was happy to see some of you who took advantage of the deal and enjoyed the  sunshine, great sport, and maybe a beer or two. Hopefully you recognised my voice, enjoying my role as stadium announcer – a fun way to spend 3 days! My proudest moment was managing to get all 2000+ spectators to clap the intro to “We will rock you”.

If I can manage just a fraction of the participation from our members, our events and purpose as British Society will be assured. Let’s work together on this.

I wish you all a great spring/summer and hope to see you at our outdoor activities such as tennis, golf, squash and sailing.

As always, check the Britsoc Events Calendar for details.


Best regards,

Ian Cherington


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