The GNE Young Writers & Public Speaking Awards

The GNE Awards is an annual event consisting of two English language competitions for 16 to 20 year-olds in the Netherlands.The competitions run from January to March each year, with the National Final in April.

The GNE Awards is organised by the Netherlands - England Society (Genootschap Nederland-Engeland)

Some practical information in a nutshell:

For whom?

For 16 – 20 year old secondary school and HBO students


Giving students the opportunity to step into the spotlight and showcase their English communication skills


Public Speaking and Writing an Opinion Piece


Speaking preliminaries: Saturdays in March 2015
Closing date entries Writing Awards: 20 February 2015
Semi-Final and National Final Speaking and Writing Awards: April 2015


From November onwards


History of the GNE Awards

The GNE Young Writers and Public Speaking Awards are organised by the Netherlands-England Society (GNE). The organising committee consists of Ingrid de Beer (chair), Stephen Cannan and Ann Finch. The first competition was run over 27 years ago in 1988, since when it has become a successful annual event with hundreds of participants from all over The Netherlands.

Through the years, the Awards has been supported and sponsored by many companies, organisations and individuals. They have contributed in many different ways, by providing facilities, publicity, prizes or just financial support to make this exciting competition possible. The Awards collaborates closely with the English-Speaking Union (ESU), and the GNE Awards provides the Dutch entrant to each year`s ESU International Public Speaking Competition (IPSC) in London, which has frequently gone on to win a prize.

Learning languages is hard work and deserves to be rewarded. To young people who strive to achieve excellence in English and make active use of the English language, the GNE Young Writers and Public Speaking Awards give the opportunity to show their creativity and to express their opinions.

The two GNE Awards (for young people between 16 and 20 years old) form a common focus for developing effective English language skills. Participation will enhance their communication skills in English. It will help them to be more confident and to express themselves better. You will certainly benefit from it in later years.

Informatie voor de Pers

De GNE Awards 2015 worden georganiseerd door het Genootschap Nederland-Engeland (GNE) in samenwerking met de English-Speaking Union (ESU).

De Awards bestaan uit twee onderdelen:

  1. De Public Speaking Award
  2. De Young Writers Award

Aan jonge mensen, die met steun van hun docenten, een uitstekende beheersing van de Engelse taal proberen te bereiken en actief gebruik maken van de Engelse taal, bieden de GNE Awards gelegenheid hun mening voor een jong publiek uit te spreken, die net als zijzelf met vragen over hun eigen leven en hun hoop voor de toekomst geconfronteerd worden.

De twee GNE Awards voor jonge mensen van 16 tot 20 jaar concentreren zich op de ontwikkeling van doeltreffende vaardigheden in de Engelse taal. Deelname zal de communicatieve vaardigheden van jonge mensen in het Engels verhogen. Dit helpt hen meer vertrouwen te krijgen, zich beter uit te drukken en het zal hen in hun verdere ontwikkeling zeker van nut zijn.

Download hier de GNE-Awards Flyer.

Young Writers Award

Participants for the Young Writers Award have to write an opinion piece for a newspaper. As is common in journalism, they need to keep strictly within a maximum number of words.

  • Participants must write about one of the following topics:
  • Should the general public understand science?
  • We must fundamentally rethink our food systems.
  • Should cultural traditions adapt to the changing times?
  • Will robots dehumanize health care?
  • Does real change come from above or below?
  • ESU topic: To be ignorant of the past is to remain a child

Public Speaking Award

In the preliminary rounds and Quarter-finals competitors are required to speak on a chosen topic for 5 minutes, followed by 3-minutes to answer questions from the audience. The topics for the GNE Public Speaking Award 2015 are:

  • Should the general public understand science?
  • We must fundamentally rethink our food systems.
  • Should cultural traditions adapt to the changing times?
  • Will robots dehumanize health care?
  • Does real change come from above or below?
  • ESU topic: To be ignorant of the past is to remain a child

De Nationale Finale vindt plaats op zaterdag 18 april bij het Christelijk Lyceum in Zeist. Voor verdere informatie, zie www.gneawards.nl.

Contactpersoon voor de pers is:
Ingrid de Beer
email: info@gneawards.nl


During the GNE lecture season, events are regularly held and talks are given about once a month and unless otherwise stated, these are delivered in English. The visiting speakers are all experts in their chosen fields and their lectures are both informative and entertaining. They may feature different aspects of British life, arts and culture, places and people. Occasionally we are also treated to a traveller`s tale. Wherever possible, lectures are illustrated.
An overview of this year`s programme is given below. For more details on our events and talks please click events & talks. For the full programme with dates, venues and entry fees per branch, please click branches.


Slotfestijn GNE

Op zaterdag 20 juni a.s. luiden we met zijn allen het GNE uit tijdens het Slotfestijn ter afsluiting van 95 jaar GNE. (Oud-)GNE-leden en (oud-)afdelingsbestuurs- en (oud-)HB-leden nodigen wij hierbij van harte uit.
Het evenement zal plaatsvinden bij het historische Slot Zuylen in Oud-Zuilen vlakbij Utrecht ( http://www.slotzuylen.nl ). De connectie met Groot Brittannië ligt in de persoon van Belle van Zuylen. Zij was bevriend met James Boswell toen die in Utrecht studeerde in de 18e eeuw.

Download hier de volledige informatie leaflet-slotfeest.

Slotfestijn GNEMore information...
John Cameron Webb:

On 27th September John Cameron-Webb and Gerard Sprenger will be conducting a guided tour of the Market Garden battlefield and on 28th touring the border area of Germany looking at the Rhine Crossing battle of Feb-March 1944 Operation Veritable.  The tour will finish at the National War Museum in Overloon, near Venray.
Gerard Sprenger: Former history teacher; avid WWII historian and Dutch Grenadier Guardsman.
John Cameron-Webb: Battlefield guide mainly focussing on WWI, but has conducted Market Garden with Gerard in the past and Waterloo tours. John has organized already four successful trips for GNE and CADS members about WWI and WWII:
• Amsterdam: `War walk` (2011, with Gerard Sprenger);
• Ieper: (2011);
• Albert (France): `Somme Battlefields` (2012);
• Arnhem: Battlefield Tour `Market-Garden` (2013).

Operation Market Garden and Operation Veritable Battlefield More information...
Julian Paren:

Julian Paren is a physicist by training with a PhD in glaciology awarded by the University of Cambridge for research on the electrical properties of ice carried out at the Scott Polar Research Institute. After a spell as Nuffield Senior Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham he joined the British Antarctic Survey in 1976 and made nine visits to Antarctica. In his later years at BAS he was Director’s Assistant and Head of Information and Archives. Throughout his time at BAS and in retirement he ran adult-education courses for the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning.

The Geograph Project, the Black Isle and eastern ScotlandMore information...
A Life of Visiting High LatitudesMore information...
Martin Papworth:

Martin Papworth specializes in the history and archaeology of the Dorset Iron Age and has written a book on the local tribe known as the Durotriges. He has worked for the NT for 27 years and has been involved in a range of archaeological projects. Martin carried out work at the great Avebury Henge and discovered buried megaliths and was also involved in the Stonehenge Riverside Project which worked out a new chronology for the Neolithic and Bronze Age landscape. Most recently he has been involved in uncovering mosaics at Chedworth Roman Villa after a new cover building was designed and erected over the West Range of the Villa.

Chedworth Roman VillaMore information...
Stonehenge Riverside ProjectMore information...
Dr Paul Franssen:

Paul Franssen has been teaching British and South African Literature at the University of Utrecht since 1979. His expertise on the Renaisance is accompanied by his interest in some more modern areas and people, such as British 20th century drama. Jane Austen, J. M. Coetzee and Oacar Wilde.

Jane Austen and the Modern WorldMore information...
John Pilkington:

John Pilkington has been called “one of Britain’s greatest tellers of travellers’ tales”.
In 1983, after journeys in Africa and Latin America, he completed a 500-mile solo crossing of the western Nepal Himalaya, and told the story in his first book, Into Thin Air. His interest in Asia grew further with the opening in 1986 of the border between Pakistan and China, making it possible – for the first time in forty years – to retrace virtually the whole of the Silk Road. John was one of the first modern travellers to do so, and he wrote about the journey in An Adventure on the Old Silk Road. This was followed in 1991 by An Englishman in Patagonia; recounting eight months spent exploring the southernmost tip of South America.
In 2000 he became one of only four people in modern times to walk the 1,600-mile Royal Road of the Incas in the Andes of Ecuador and Peru. In 2003 he explored the Mekong River and, with two Tibetans, reached and mapped its source at over 17,000 feet. In 2006 he turned his attention to the Sahara Desert, and joined a camel caravan carrying salt for 450 miles from the mines of Taoudenni to Timbuktu.

A Balkan AdventureMore information...
Christine Sinninghe Damste:

Op mijn 13e mocht ik mee naar een lezing over de geschiedenis van speelgoed door Petra Wassenberg-Clarijs, destijds directeur van het speelgoedmuseum in Deventer. De vlam sloeg over, want sindsdien verzamel ik niet alleen speelgoed en spelletjes, maar ook kinderprentenboeken uit de 19e en begin 20e eeuw.
Mijn collectie inspireert mij onderzoek te doen naar de historische en pedagogische achtergrond van spel en speelgoed. Hierover vertel ik u graag tijdens een van mijn lezingen.
In de loop der jaren werkte ik mee aan verschillende speelgoedtentoonstellingen en verzorgde ik naast lezingen ook publicaties op het gebied van kinderspeelgoed en kinderboeken.


Little George and his English GovernessMore information...
John McAleer:

John McAleer is Lecturer in History at the University of Southampton and historian of the British Empire. His work focuses on the British encounter and engagement with the wider world in the 18th and 19th centuries, situating the history of empire in its global and maritime contexts.
He is interested in the relationships, interactions and patterns of exchange created by the British Empire, and in assessing the impact of these experiences on both British and colonial societies. Previously, as Curator of Imperial and Maritime History at the National Maritime Museum, he worked on the development and delivery of gallery projects, focusing on Atlantic and Indian Ocean history. 

British views of the Victoria Falls in the nineteenth centuryMore information...
John Sutton:

JOHN SUTTON was a Senior Lecturer in History at Anglia Polytechnic University. He specialises in the history of Early Modern England and the English Renaissance (1558-1640), the English Civil War and the Jacobite cause. In 1983-84 he made a television series on Eastern England in the 1640s, entitled ‘A War in the Kingdom’ which was screened on Anglia TV. He regularly hosts special interest gatherings on a wide range of historical subjects. He has previously talked to the GNE branches on topics such as Sir Philip Sidney, Sir Walter Raleigh, Charles I and Elizabeth I. His last GNE lecture tour was in October 2009 when he spoke on `Rob Roy - hero or villain`.

By the Sword DividedMore information...
A Dutch King and an English PalaceMore information...
Mistress to the King? Jane Whorwood and Charles IMore information...
Dr Adam White:

Dr. Adam White is curator at Lotherton Hall, a country house museum between Leeds and York. He also has a research interest in the architecture and sculpture of the early 17th century in Britain when ties between England and the Netherlands were particularly close. Dr. Adam White will give a talk about the life and work of Nicholas Stone the Elder (1586/7-1647) who was the leading English mason-sculptor in the period c.1620-42. Stone the Elder was a pupil of Hendrick de Keyser, master mason to the City of Amsterdam and a leading Dutch sculptor of his time, and he married de Keyser`s daughter Mayken (Mary). Dr. Adam White has written several articles on Stone and he features largely in the Biographical Dictionary of London Tomb Sculptors c.1560-1660 which he published with the Walpole Society in London in 1999 (with supplement 2009).

The life and work of Nicholas Stone the ElderMore information...
Prof. dr A.J. (Arthur) van Essen:

Arthur van Essen taught English in Dutch secondary schools, and from 1971 was lecturer, then senior lecturer, and finally full professor of Applied Linguistics and Language Pedagogy in the University of Groningen. He became professor emeritus in 2003. He has lectured extensively throughout Europe, Africa and America, often on missions for the British Council. One of his chief interests is the teaching of English to speakers of other languages.

Teaching English to the poorest of the poor in North-Eastern IndiaMore information...