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

All posts in Education

International Community Advisory Panel – survey on International children & education

Categories: Amsterdam, Education, Family and Children, Parent Support
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Building bridges for the international community

ICAP Amsterdam is an initiative put together by four long-standing members of the international community to act as an independent bridge between the international community itself and government and civic organisations.

In particular, we aim to establish an independent forum which represents and reflects the views of the international community on issues which have an impact on the city’s attractiveness as a place to live in and do business.

The city regularly scores very highly in international comparisons – facts which officials are keen to promote whenever possible. However, these glowing reports do not always reflect the reality on the ground. And Amsterdam lacks a broad framework for communicating with and receiving input/feedback from the international community and assessing its diverse needs and concerns. ICAP aims to change this.

The International Community Advisory Panel will focus on four main areas:

– Education

– Housing

– Healthcare

– Work and Inclusion


ICAP is an independent foundation, registered in Amsterdam.

ICAP’s ideals are supported by the Amsterdam Expatcenter and ICAP is already working with city officials in some areas.


Robin Pascoe: founder of news website

Emmy McCarthy: founder of information and support source Amsterdam Mamas

Lynn Kaplanian Buller: Co-owner of The American Book Centre

Deborah Valentine: Executive Director of volunteer network ACCESS

If you can help with this survey on International children and education
Your input will help the International Community Advisory Panel to find out more about how international parents in the Netherlands approach their children’s education and will, we hope, lead to improvements in the future.

This is the link

Open Survey

Interview with Kieran Earley

Categories: Britsoc Interview, Education
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By Alison Smith


Interview with Kieran Earley, CEO & Principal of The British School in the Netherlands


PHOTO-KIERAN-EARLEY_webKieran has been leading the BSN since September last year so, 8 months on, I was interested to know how he and his family were getting on and how he was taking to life in The Netherlands.  Here is his take on all things NL. 


What were your first thoughts when you heard you would be moving to the Netherlands?

Excitement and anticipation – personally and professionally. The International outlook and culture in the Netherlands will be enriching for our family (we have three teenage boys) and I belong to an amazing organisation with some innovative and exciting plans.


In what ways do you think life in NL is very different to life in the UK?

We’ve only been here 8 months so we’re still adapting but first impressions are that the Dutch are even more outdoor oriented than the British. Everyone gets out – in all weathers; the infrastructure and local planning help.


The Dutch say they are direct, the Brits may consider them rude…..what is your feeling about the famous Dutch directness?  Any first-hand experiences?

My wife is Dutch – so I have to be careful here! It’s fair to say that whilst being incredibly supportive, she’s kept my feet on the ground for many years. I have plenty of Dutch colleagues and find the direct approach refreshing and purposeful. Not quite sure what they make of me though!


Kieran 2Any good cycling anecdotes so far?

We bought five bikes on our first day in Voorschoten last August – we knew what to expect! Our most exciting ride as a family was coming back from New Year celebrations in Voorschoten. We’d heard that it would be a little crazy with fireworks in the street but weren’t expecting a whole new level of crazy. Unforgettable.


If you could sum up the Dutch in 5 words, what would they be?

No-nonsense, principled, friendly, discerning, determined. They are all really serious words! I think there is also a highly developed but subtle sense of mischief. This leads to special Dutch fun and a dark sense of humour.


Dutch cuisine……a contradiction in terms or a down-to-earth delight?  What are your favourite Dutch specialities and which ones would you secretly feed to the dog under the table?

I’m actually addicted to Croquetten and Bitterballen. I can’t believe they’re not a huge thing in the UK. I once put a bitterball in my mouth in one. Once.


The best day yet and why?

There have been many but last summer we rode to Leiden and had a family day in the sun. The history and architecture are different but subtly interwoven with the British experience and approach to life. I guess this is why we get on so well. It was so exciting to think that the canals, culture and castles would all be within striking distance.


Have you found a favourite restaurant? When you have visitors, where do you always take them?

We love going to La Casita in Voorschoten. Situated on old Voorstraat it is great for hapjes and has a super atmosphere. The host is most friendly and convivial! In the Hague we’ve been to De Basiliek a few times and have had some good nights there. Great food and a casually brilliant service.


Has being in The Netherlands changed you or your attitudes or opinions in any way?

Coming on to mainland Europe has been so refreshing. Everything feels closer. We’ve been on more trips in these 8 months than we would ever have contemplated in the UK. We’re driving through France to Barcelona this summer. We’re less than 30 mins from Schiphol too.


Sometimes, living abroad makes us realise how indoctrinated we are in our National habits. Which parts of the Dutch culture would you say you have embraced wholeheartedly?…and which parts of you will remain truly British?

No major culture shocks. The only thing the Dutch get wrong is tea.


Is there anything you have particularly struggled with since arriving in NL?

De taal is nog een drempel! I wrote about learning Dutch on my blog here. I got a load of hits so I can’t be alone in feeling this. I think it’s incredibly important to learn the language and to insist on speaking it when you hear perfect English in return. Fortunately, we have the capacity in our Language Centre to help me make progress with my Dutch.


How would you translate the word “gezellig” ?

Ha ha! That lovely happy feeling at the cusp of an evening among family and friends when you know that nothing could be better.


If you would like to know more, you can read Kieran’s blog at or follow his Twitter feed @kieran_earley.


The British School in The Netherlands – Britsoc Sponsors

Categories: Britsoc Sponsor/Advertiser, Education
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The British School in the Netherlands

Our mission at the BSN is to deliver academic excellence and create inspiring places for children and young people to learn and grow into confident individuals.

Building on the proven quality of the British and International Baccalaureate (IB) Curriculum we also foster a global perspective.

Reaching our five campuses (three primary and two secondary), located in and around The Hague, is quick and easy wherever you happen to live. We make transport convenient for families with our door-to-door pick up services or coach services from Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

There are plenty of transport options available to suit the family’s needs. Not convinced? We’ve done the hard work for you – take a look at our video or contact our admission team.


or call our admissions team below.

BSN Admissions Department

Christine Matthews – Senior Admissions Officer
Pauline de Zwart – Admissions Coordinator

Vrouw Avenweg 640
2493 WZ, Den Haag

Click for map & directions

T : +31 (0)70 315 4077

British Language Training Centre | Britsoc Sponsor

Categories: Britsoc Sponsor/Advertiser, Business, Education, Language, Language Training
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Welcome to the British Language Training Centre located in the heart of Amsterdam

Your centre of choice for English and Dutch courses as well as Cambridge Examinations, Business English, International Legal English, International Financial English and Teaching English (TEFL) qualification courses

The BLTC trains for internationally recognised Cambridge certificates and is the Dutch Test Centre for IELTS, the International English Language Testing System. In March 2015  BLTC became an official examination centre for Cambridge Business Examinations  BEC, ILEC and ICFE.

Getting there

The BLTC is located in Oxford House in the centre of Amsterdam, close to Spui.

Oxford House
Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 328/E
1012 RW Amsterdam


Tel. : 020 622 36 34
Fax : 020 626 49 62

British Language Training Centre
Welcome to the British Language Training Centre located in the heart of Amsterdam

Car parking is limited. The nearest parking garages are Bijenkorf, De Kolk, and Muziektheater/Stadhuis.

Trams 1, 2, and 5 stop in front of the door (tram stop ‘Spui’).
Trams 4, 9, 14, 16, 24, and 25 stop at Rokin (a two-minute walk).

Amsterdam International Community School | Britsoc Sponsor

Categories: Britsoc Sponsor/Advertiser, Education, Kids, Language, Schools
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Amsterdam International Community School (AICS)

The Amsterdam International Community School is a Dutch International Primary and Secondary School offering international education in English.

To be a community where learning is at the heart of everything we do.



Amsterdam International Community School

Prinses Irenestraat 59

1077 WV Amsterdam

Amsterdam International Community School
Dutch International Primary and Secondary School offering international education in English.

The International School of Amsterdam | Britsoc Sponsor

Categories: Britsoc Sponsor/Advertiser, Education, Schools
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Setting the stage to excite and develop young minds

At the International School of Amsterdam (ISA), we believe that great facilities can set the stage for great learning. ISA is housed in a space specially designed for international education. And inspiration.

Our facilities include a four-floor library/media center, a 400-seat theatre, science labs and specialist studios for music, art, and drama. More than 400 computers are joined in a school-wide, online network. Students work with laptops and iPads in the classroom. Two state-of-the-art gyms, discovery oriented playgrounds and adjacent playing fields are large, well equipped and secure.

ISA’s campus is not a luxury. It’s where ideas are born.


Sportlaan 45

1185 TB Amstelveen

The Netherlands

Tel: +31 20 347 1111

Looking for a Dutch Language Course?

Categories: Education, Language
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Dutch for Expats FREE trial lessons

Enrol in a Dutch for Expats free trial lesson via The free lessons are given on:

  • Monday, 26 January 2015, 7:30-9:00 PM
  • Monday, 2 March 2015, 7:30-9:00 PM


Short Dutch course for expats in Amsterdam – Enrol in a free trial lesson!

Are you an expat in the Netherlands? Do you want to learn some basic Dutch in twelve lessons? Or do you need excellent language skills for your professional environment? Pace Language Institute offers Dutch for Expats courses which focus on different language levels. Whether you have been in the Netherlands for years or only months, Pace has a Dutch course for you. Still in doubt? Enrol in a free trial lesson!

About the course

The Dutch for Expats courses focus on:

  • all language skills: conversational skills, speaking, listening, reading, and writing; and
  • living in the Netherlands, particularly in Amsterdam.

Course fees

  • Group courses (7-15 participants), 12 sessions of 2,5 hours (30 hours), excl. €50 materials: €450 per person.
  • Tailor-made private lessons: €75 an hour.

Free trial lessons

Pace offers free trial lessons on:

  • Monday 26 January 2015, 7:30-9:00 PM
  • Monday 2 March 2015, 7:30-9:00 PM

Course dates and hours

In 2015, Pace offers different Dutch for Expats courses, such as:

  • Course 1, January-February: Mondays and Wednesdays, 7:00-9:30 PM: 12,14,19,21,26 January, 2, 4, 9,11 February
  • Course 2, February-March: Mondays and Wednesdays, 7:00-9:30 PM: 2,4,9,11,16 and 18 February,; 2,4,9,11,16 and 18 March
  • Course 3, April-May: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7:00-9:30 PM: 2, 7, 9, 14, 16, 21, 23, 28, and 30 April; 7, 12, and 19 May.


Do you want to enrol in a Dutch for Expats course? Do you want to register for a free trial course? Or do you need more information?

Please, contact Pace via




Family Open Day—24 January 2015—AICS

Categories: Education, Family and Children, Kids
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Amsterdam International Community School invites you to a fun family open day.

Saturday 24th January 2015. 9:30-12:30.

(No sign up needed, but you can email us for the exact schedule)

Meet our teachers

What does community action & service mean?

Learn how to make a volcano

Ceramic workshop

Have fun with maths

Try our very own Quidditch


The AICS provides international education in English for children aged
4-19 years. Let our students show you around our school, talk to our
teachers and find out more about why “learning is at the heart of
everything we do”.

Screen Shot 2013-01-16 at 16.11.01We hope to see you there.

Prinses Irenestraat 59, Amsterdam
tel: 020 577 12 41

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.