Dirk de Jong wants to breathe new life into the neighborhood with Café on the Oudegracht

My new neighbor Amrish from Malaysia caught my attention the lovely Kafka Cafe on the corner of Korte Smeestraat and Oudegracht. Talk about delicious coffee with every imaginable milk, the atmosphere, and the possibility to play a game of chess or read a book. I live a hundred meters away and why do I go there for coffee?

Owner Dirk de Jong thinks it’s a shame that the Dutchman is so hard to get out of the house. “Close the front door behind you to drink your dirty coffee at home, it’s too bad to spend two or three euros.” Dirk wants to create a meeting place for everyone in Kafka: “Reviving the community, the neighborhood. Teamwork and co-living in an informal setting, getting to know each other, and a listening ear while enjoying a perfect Italian espresso.” Time to go there, although we had excellent coffee in the house.

Dirk de Jong (58) “I was born in Groningen, lived in Twente and studied in Groningen and Nijmegen. I studied geography and planning. After that I lived all over Holland. In Holland it is actually the same everywhere: people are boring, just like the landscape, Which has no difference at all. Except for boring people, I’ve encountered selfish people everywhere, people with no sense of humor, no taste, no sense of solidarity. I have little interest in Dutch culture. Food is mainly related to nutrition and not being together. The Dutch prefer to drink coffee For 1 euro in Hema or Ikea rather than spending more for a really good cup of coffee. It will be a Calvinist legacy, as the majority of Dutch people grew up that way. I’d rather live in Italy or Spain, the people are more relaxed there, the food is better and so is the climate.”

“I often have enforcement agents at the door here because the neighborhood complains about having a sign outside”

“I’ve been working here with Cafca for over a year now, and run the business with the help of a community of loyal clients. With Lucas, he’s taught something very challenging, being the bright spot for all volunteers. After all, I also have to go to the dentist or don’t feel like it.” For a day. Cafca, the name was quickly picked. In the books of the Czech writer Kafka, the individual is also persecuted by the bureaucracy. Something I encounter regularly myself. I often have enforcement items at the door here because the neighborhood complains that there is a sign outside, or a table on the sidewalk, Or a clothes rack I put on the bridge. While I would like to make this a place for the neighborhood. There is little inconvenience to me. I don’t sell alcohol and the infamous bachelorette parties don’t come to me either.”

“I want to create a beautiful place here, an oasis where you can escape the crowds”

“I want to create a beautiful place here where all different kinds of people meet. An oasis where you can escape from the crowds for a while, everything should be fine from the music to the coffee. A conversation with the domestic worker who wants to go out, the student who meets someone, the tourist Who is passing by, as well as a local resident who wants to know what is happening in the area.People can play chess or talk quietly.Cafca also has a typewriter where you can put your thoughts on paper.Books are left here to pass on to others.It’s all here For sale From murals to clothes that Indian women make out of worn sarees I rent from Utrecht Monuments and want to create a sitting room above work for young people who are no longer interested in school Young people I have seen from my youth welfare work are completely stuck, completely out of school and exposed to drugs To prevent this, I want a living room where young people can take time out, draw, play music, or just listen. Then go back to school. I’m waiting to hear the Antiquities Fund say about my plans. I would actually like to have a somewhat larger place h I can organize small events, poetry evenings, films and music, where lectures are held and spoken word artists have their say. But it’s all within decency, because that’s what I appreciate. This small company is my dream.”

Cortado is highly recommended

While I’m talking to Dirk, every now and then someone comes over for coffee. Remarkably, Dirk makes time for everyone and knows how to have a personalized conversation. The two glorified students feel at home just like the guys playing chess. Girls who want to trade in an item for something more valuable or an American who wants to drink a good espresso. As my Malaysian neighbor told me, “It’s a place with a very good vibe.” So my fellow locals are visiting Kafka, I can highly recommend the Cortado.

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