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

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Things to do and places to go for families and children

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

What to do this Summer?

Categories: Family and Children, Fun
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By Alison Smith

The six week school holiday is great for kids but can be challenging for parents who, by the fourth week, have run out of responses to “I’m Bored”.  BritSoc to the rescue.  We’ve put together a list of the best three amusement parks in NL, so get your comfy shoes on, take a motion sickness pill and treat the kids to a day of dizzying rides, junk food and long queues.  Ah, but it’s worth it!


Efteling – Charm and thrills.

EftelingThe good thing about the Efteling Park is that there is something for all ages so if you are trying to entertain a spread of age groups, this is a good day out for all concerned.

For the little ones there is the famous Sprookjesbos (Fairy Forest) plus lots of easy rides such as old fashioned carousels, train rides, a monorail, old-timer cars to “steer” around a track and a pretty show called Droomvlucht (Dreamflight) which has won an award, probably for being the prettiest show.

For the whole family to enjoy they offer a boat lake, a Haunted House, 3D films, and a variation on the Disney Teacups where, instead of cups, you sit in a large casserole pot and are stirred around fairly gently.  As if that wasn’t enough, you can get a good soaking and wander around for the rest of the day in wet clothes after a go on The Piraña raft ride.  Marvellous!

Older kids will enjoy the stomach-churning roller coasters such as the award winning Baron 1898, or the Vliegende Hollander (Flying Dutchman) or the Python, or they may prefer to lose their lunch on the Halve Maan pirate ship or on a bobsleigh ride called, simply, Bob.  For those who like to feel disoriented and dizzy, there’s also a cursed house called Villa Volta whose floors and ceilings move about as you walk round.  Oodles of fun.

The Efteling won the award for the best Food and Drink. They certainly have more variety than the average amusement park and go beyond the usual greasy chips and fricandel type snacks.  There is a pancake house, a restaurant called Het Wapen van Raveleijn, which serves lunch and dinner, and plenty of sandwich, panini, snack options.  Of course if you prefer croquette and fries, that’s also on offer.

Diamond Theme Park Awards 2016 for Best Amusement Park in NL, Best roller coaster for Baron 1898, Best attraction for Droomvlucht (Dreamflight)  Most Child Friendly, Best Food and Drink concessions.

Cheapest price € 34.50  Children under 3 yrs – free entrance.

Europalaan 1, Kaatsheuvel.


Walibi Holland – High speed thrills.

46104_fullimage_walibi girls jumping in front of the entrance_560x350

Slightly less charming than the Efteling, Walibi theme park is big on rides and less on theme.  This is heaven for older kids who like thrill rides and roller coasters.  Just to name a selection; Speed of Sound sends you on a musical loop-the-loop, six times! Goliath boasts the highest and fastest roller coaster in the Benelux, and Xpress Platform 13 launches you to 90km/h in 2.8 seconds.  Meanwhile newly opened Lost Gravity tips you upside down so often, you no longer know if you’re up or down.  I have vertigo just writing this.

Walibi also offers plenty of opportunity to get soaking wet. The Rio Grande raft ride and the Crazy River Log flume will guarantee you wet trousers for the rest of the day….unless the sun shines of course.

Smaller kids and scaredy-cat adults are not left out at Walibi with tamer rides available such as Spinning Sombreros, Dodgems and Go-Karts and the really small kids have plenty to keep them happy with train rides and mini roller coasters.

The food available is the usual offering of hamburgers, kebabs, fries, wraps, sandwiches and ice cream, with one place specialising in pizza and pastas.  My advice? Big rides first, kebab later.

Cheapest is to book online. € 29,50.

Spijkweg 30, Biddinghuizen.


Duinrell & Tikibad – 2 for the price of 1

87cefacabf01f45f00013039a3ac7946This is in the top three simply because you get the best of two worlds.  Duinrell has all the trappings of a theme park with roller coasters and wild rides and, for a few euros more, you can buy entrance to the Tikibad waterpark, with slides and watery fun

For thrill seekers there is the Falcon rollercoaster, the Dragonfly, which is a bit tamer, but scores as the longest roller coaster in NL, the Mad Mill, where you can be spun senseless while being swung backwards and forwards, all at the same time and, if your inner ear mechanism can still handle it, try their new attraction ‘Wildwings’, which is a good ride for budding pilots.   There are more attractions for the younger kids and the park has a real old fashioned family feel.

Food-wise Duinrell have partnered up with La Place, which has a good reputation for decent food and healthier options.  Of course the usual deep-fried nonsense is also available as well as a buffet restuarant, but it’s good to see something different on offer.

With the option of access to the waterpark, this park gives the best value for money and is a good option for a two day stay.  Hotels are available on-site. Just don’t forget your cozzie.

Best value is a combi ticket Themepark and unlimited use of Tikibad € 28,50

Theme park only € 22,50.  Theme park and 3 hours use of Tikibad € 27,50

Duinrell 1, Wassenaar.



Vlaardingen on Koningsdag

Categories: Family and Children, Kids, Koningsdag
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By Dee Bodle



image1What a day, we were in Vlaardingen on Koningsdag this year and we had a great time, the weather was very kind to us and at one part of the day we were in sunbathing mode with a nice beer in hand. It is around 6 years since we have been to Vlaardingen on Koningsdag and it had so much going on, firstly starting at 7am in the morning the town centre changes into a ‘kleedjesmarkt’ which  literally takes over everywhere with people selling everything but the kitchen sink.


Everything is then officially opened at 10am by the Mayor in the Veerplein and then the balloons are released.


Down by the Fishbank the runners are getting ready for the fun run which starts with the children of all ages running around the harbour area, this year it was won in fantastic style by a 10 year old girl who beat off all the competition. The main event is more of a competitive race this year being the 68th year that it has been run with both the 5k and 10k runners running at the same time. My partner’s father ran this when he was 65 and some of the runners were well in excess of 65 so I take my hat off to them.


On other areas of the harbour area children had lots to entertain them, boats with entertainment, bouncing castles, hook a duck and the Brandveer giving them the opportunity to hose down a building and believe me there was a very long queue for this.


During the day Vlaardingen comes alive with the sound of music in a variety of forms from singing, entertainers and musical groups so from midday until 7pm there is plenty to entertain you.


So all in all it was a fantastic day which was finished off by a fabulous fireworks display at 10 o clock which could be seen all over the town as the fireworks went high into the sky. We had a lovely time and when I was asked to do a piece on Koningsdag outside of Amsterdam i hope I’ve given you a flavour of what is happening elsewhere.


Vlaardingen also has another great weekend on the 12th & 13th June with their ‘Loggerfestival’ and I can promise you a great time with music, dance and lots of things happening so if you fancy something different then Vlaardingen has a lot to offer.


Swim back to ‘ Fish and Chips for the Soul’ magazine

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

Muddy Mates

Categories: Family and Children
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Everything you need to know to survive a fun day running in the mud

Muddy Mates invites everyone to grab a mate and get training!

On Saturday the 19th of April Muddy Mates presents their 2nd edition of Mud Runs at the specially designed parcours at Spaarnwoude in Velsen (near Amsterdam). Mud Runs are increasingly becoming more popular and Muddy Mates knows what it takes to survive your mud-filled day out. Muddy Mates is one of the most approachable mud runs in The Netherlands and they want to let people know there are only a few things you need to have a great time: a team of mates, a fun attitude, a creative outfit (fancy dress is optional) and a pair of really old trainers. The Muddy Mates adventure challenge invites teams of two (or more) to navigate a 5km mud-filled parcours made up of 12 specially designed obstacles. Their objective is to promote a fun, healthy and active lifestyle. Therefore the fastest time is not the goal, just muddy fun!

Jeff Povlo, the American founder of Muddy Mates who is now based in Amsterdam says: “We really want to create a great outdoor festival atmosphere. So it’s going to have food, it’s going to have beer, it’s going to have music and of course a lot of mud! You do not have to be a seasoned athlete to join in, all you need is a mate and a sense of humor, adventure and you need to be ready for the muddiest experience of a lifetime.  It’s a great opportunity to get fit while having fun.”

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 12.12.59Muddy Mates is an event for all ages and sexes with even a family-friendly 500m Mini Muddy Course for the ages 4-11 (accompanied by a parent) with mini-sized obstacles so kids can slither through the mud and have fun just like the adults.  The festival will be going all day long, with live music, food and fun while Muddy Mates run.  Spectators get in free.

Muddy Mates is a one-day event on Saturday 19th of April from 11.00 to 22.00 at Spaarnwoude in Velsen (near Amsterdam).

Tickets prices (includes free t-shirt and medal):

Adults: €32.50

Kids €12 (parents free)

Team and family discounts are available

Register NOW for your chance to get 50% off with the Early bird special

For more information and to register, go to

Amsterdam 2013 – Celebrating International Families

Categories: Family and Children
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You’re invited.

Amsterdam 2013 – Celebrating International Families

On the 15th of September 2013 you are invited to join the Expatcenter and Stichting Amsterdam Mamas for a day at the zoo as we celebrate international families in Amsterdam as part of Amsterdam 2013.

Join us for a fun packed event full of music, performance and activities for young and old as we celebrate the different nationalities that make up our multicultural city, in the beautiful surroundings of Artis Royal Zoo.

15 September, 2013
09.00 – 13.00
Artis, Amsterdam

Tickets are 7.50 euros per person (children under 36 months are free).

  • Date: 9/15/13
  • Time: 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
  • Where: Netherlands Amsterdam Artis Royal Zoo Map
  • Host: Amsterdam 2013
  • Category: Expat events

More details on the Amsterdam Mamas website

WOW!! Science at Zernike

Categories: Family and Children
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Zernike Science Campus (University of Groningen) opened its doors on 21 October: an afternoon packed full of hands-on activities, lectures and demonstrations for young and old. Yes, science still has the wow factor!

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