I.M. Willem Buijs
by Riny Reiken

In de Olofspoort, despite not being related to each other, we do share both the good and the bad times. The bonds sit deep under your skin. When a regular is taken from us, death comes closer.  The owner of a tasting cafe often gets bookings for after funeral receptions. The gatherings are intended to serve as a space for grieving. Everyone is welcome. We then bring a huge bottle from the cellar, one with a tap on its front. If you want to drink an old-Dutch spirit “Bitter Consolation for suffering”, you tap it yourself from the huge bottle to a little glass”. Then, it is expected that  you share something about the person who has passed and sometimes a poem gets recited.  Everyone assimilates the loss in their personal way. Laughing and crying are close to each other. 

Halleluja

Willem often sat silently at the bar. But if there were an argument, he would cry: “Silencio, goddamnit!”, and with some other remark, the argument got quickly reconciled. “Halleluja”, loudly called Willem every time he drank his beer. He was an artist at heart; he painted young girls and ladies. 

After his death, we all chipped in for a sign which got placed on a chestnut tree by his grave at the Nieuwe Ooster, which reads “In memory of this genial man, on behalf of In de Olofspoort and friends". Bas made a special liquor for Willem's ceremony, and we named it “Halleluja”. This unique liquor is, since then, also sold in bottles. 

Halleluja
(for Willem Buijs)

The singing gently swept away 
along Warmoesstraat's emptiness 
the Olofspoort, the Zeedijk
no more a
next appoinment
the next regular cafe.

Searching for warmth, a conversation
searching for
the stillness

the walls catch the memories
of his grey hairs
his last little beer
the grey beard
which he seemed to have been born with

the singing of his voice
hangs like clouds above our
neighbourhood
our life
our beings

pregnant of his
light that just yesterday 
tossed his glow 
his light that even tomorrow
knows,
his echo
long, long after we
get wounded by silence

goodbye Willem,
goodbye.

Tom de Lagh 25/V/ 07

 

In memoriam

Mieke Aalbertsen
Loek Al-Nederkoorn 
Fifi l'Amour
Greet van Beeren
Japie Bijtenhoorn 
Joke Blom-Wennink
Paula Boogaard
Alida Booshardt
Anneke Bouvy
Wim Breen 
Willen Buijs
Noem Chupongsert
Alan Peter Corn
Sebastiaan Cuenca Cobos 
Douglas Curry
Joop Curry
Nanette Curry
Bernard Dennis
Dirk Jan ten Doesschate
Jack Easey
Mickey Emblem
Ruud Engles
Hans van Gogh
Harry Grünbauer
Tinus van Hall
Ferdinand Holzhaus
Frits van Houten
Elleke Janssen
Paul de Jong
Frits Jung sr.
Aldert Klut
Cuuk Koekoek
Jan Koops
Ruud Lijesen
Duco Maréchal
Jan Mast
Ken Maxfield
Peter Mayoh
Eugene Menagé
Bob Nasse
Michiel Nijman
Hendrick Olde Junninck
Wim Passchier
Ben Peters
Lenie Smeding
Hein Smeenk
Jan Strijbosch
Ingrid Surie
Rita Tesselaar
Sabijn van de Ven
Marijke Verhoeff
Roel Visser
Jacobus de Vos
Ans Vredevoort
Henk de Vreng
Wien Vriese-Hoekstra
Douwe Wijbenga o.g. 
Nellie van Wijk
Jan Wijngaard
Jan van de Pol
Bert Raske
Jan Aalbertsen
Bas Bouwman
Joop  Bruil
Wendy Buseman
Ingrid Robelus - de Groot
Mary Elizabeth Lumey - Fraser
Olof Vonk
Joke Schalke
Ina Raske
Jan van Olphen
Sonja Kastelein
Felix Tijdink
Jenny van Schaik
Piet Schaefers
Joop Vis
Ben van Welsenes
Otto Klap
Bart Hoekstra
Rob Boerboom
Hans Greve
Kees de Reus
Jaap Hollenberg
Freek van Rijsinge
Eveline Brilleman
Luc de Vré


In memoriam my parents:
Dad (papa )Willem & Mom (mama )Jantje

And one for the eternal road

“Wim Breen and Piet van Beckum”

The contact with In de Olofspoort started for me in the beginning of this century when my friend Wim Breen, on his way to an Argentinian tango restaurant, said: “Piet, I want to let you try something.” 
by Piet van Beckum

We stepped inside In de Olofspoort and ordered ourselves a traditional little beer, but then with a three-year-old Zuidam jenever on the side. Delicious. Friendly people behind the counter and a peaceful public. It was immediately a pleasurable experience. Mostly, my wife Tineke and I, went to drink something and have a snack at the Olofspoort with Wim on Sunday. After my wife passed away, we visited the cafe more often, Wim and I. Always on Thursdays or Saturdays at 6 pm. Had the one gotten there earlier than the other, then we'd have no alcohol and wait until we were together. And then toast with a little beer and a three-year-old Zuidam. I felt at home very quickly. That feeling of coming home at In de Olofspoort was something extraordinary that I haven't ever felt in any other cafe/tasting house. At a time when I felt so very lonely, I received a lot of warmth from these people, something I was so in need. A sad and very particular moment was after the death of Wim on October, 1st 2011. On his deathbed he had said to his daughter: “After the ceremony, go to In de Olofspoort and, after that, go eat at the Melkmeisje,  and let Piet take care of it all”. We have listened to this wish, indeed. Riny and colleagues organised something very intimate for the family with, among others, the drink “Halleluja”. The fact that Riny, as Nieuwe Ooster's cemetery employee, did “take care of” Wim, was also trully special. Still, my actual girlfriend Coby and I, go to 'our' tasting cafe with delight, where, in the meanwhile, we have also experienced so many lovely moments, and so we hope to experience many more. 

De Nieuwe Ooster 2010 – 2013
by Riny Reiken

After moving to Watergraafsmeer, I alternated between the greenery and Amsterdam's canal belt. The moving implied a considerable change in my life. That neighbourhood was the perfect place to recover from the city's busy pace. Very necessary after thirty turbulent years in the Warmoesstraat! The daily hectic from the city centre had resulted in a chronic shortage of sleep for me. After I had run In de Olofspoort on my own for years in a row, I felt welcomed there as if I was coming home. But still, I had to set my life back on the rails. As I was living so closeby cemetery the Nieuwe Ooster, it was inevitable that I went and checked it out. A lot of our late guests were buried there. 

Delighted with the beauty of the surroundings I went there for a daily walk. The graveyards locate in the midst of greenery composed by a real arboretum (a collection of trees) of 700 tree sorts.  After many turns, I stepped inside the funereal cafe and visited, with my friend Rennie, the Museum of Funerals on October 28, 2009. Afterwards, I have practically spent my whole holiday studying interesting reference books from the museum's bookstore.

Nieuwe Ooster lightened up.

Also with Rennie Bonnema, I went to the memorial “Nieuwe Ooster lightened up” when people commemorate the deceased. There were almost 3000 visitors. The tons of candles and lit up balloons gave warmth and colour to the event. People stood together under giant white tents listening to music that combined with the occasion. Singing voices echoed during the evening and filled the air with moving sounds. There were lights everywhere, and there were paper boats in the pond with personal messages. People also put notes to the deceased in mailboxes. We saw everything with our own eyes and were very impressed. Once home, we felt affected and touched by so much love. We drank some wine, got our cheeks red with emotion, and couldn't stop talking about this memorable evening. The memorials at the cemetery are an enormous success. Each of these evenings looks different, a lot of them according to the traditions of various cultures. There are as many bereaved as there are volunteers, who are genuinely devoted to the occasion. Because of it, the idea that maybe it was time for me to do something else kept on crossing my mind.