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Every Wednesday author Maurits Koelewijn tells about the coffee culture and life in his hometown Amsterdam. This week he drank his black coffee at café Chantilly in the Molukkenstraat.
A few years ago I was living in IJburg (a neighborhood on the east side of Amsterdam) and I had to cycle to the Zuidas (a business district at the south of Amsterdam) for work. It was an ordeal to me when I had to cycle in the winter months, in the dark, over the long Nescio Bridge and I wasn’t seldom blown away from my bicycle by the wind. Once I was at the other side of the bridge, it was barely better. I had to cycle over the gloomy and endless Valentijnkade. I remember the yellow light of the streetlights and the heavy showers and thunderstorms. There was barely a sign of life.
But somewhere halfway the quay there was an old, small man with a funny hat, who was always walking there. And he raised his thumb to everyone who passed him by. All the cyclists answered him by raising their thumbs too. It was like he wanted to tell everyone, no one excluded: you’re doing a good job! Please continue!
Claiming he was the only chink of light in that dreary setting, might be a bit too overdrawn. But he knew how to make everyone smile and made life a bit easier.
The old man with the funny hat is just one of the many beautiful and characteristic people of the east of Amsterdam. Such another beautiful person is now working in the recently opened Café Chantilly. Her name is Chantal, she lives in IJburg and loves to bake cakes and cupcakes. Even her dog, who greets every customer enthusiastically by wagging his tail, is called Brownie. The coffee beans are bought at Lot Sixty One in the Kinkerstraat. For me, one of the finest coffee roasters of the city.
People make your organization, they say. And people make your neighborhood. When new, nice meeting points like Café Chantilly are build, it makes the circle round, doesn’t it? I’d say, thumbs up!
Written by: Maurits Koelewijn
Translation: Lisanne Verduijn
Photographer: Eva Plevier
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