In love with a jewel
By Henri de Mildt
After I had set up my office in the ‘Coen building’, I discovered the tasting cafe In de Olofspoort in the beautiful building of Warmoesstraat/Nieuwe Brugsteeg. Nowadays, there are more tasting bars in Amsterdam, but as far I’m concerned, this one was and is one of the best. If possibly one can fall in love with a tasting cafe, I fell in love with this jewel. It felt and feels like a warm coat in winter time.
Since it opened its doors, a significant number of exclusive high-quality liqueurs and distilled drinks are served for traditional, local visitors, and for outsiders, like me. During the day, it is always a surprise who is sitting at the counter. A lot of acquaintances and strangers visit the tasting house. I was told that our King – when still a Prince - popped in now and then for a beer. For years, Riny's ever present creativity and guests are a guarantee for 'gezelligheid', a cozy atmosphere.
In 1992, a flying club, the ‘Fokker Friendship Association' was established here. It allowed members to fly economically, business or private. We flew with one of the older F27 aircrafts, and Fokker took care of its maintenance. During five years, we flew to many destinations for two-day travels: to Colmar, Sienna, Stockholm... The pro deo crew, led by aviator and Captain Rob Surie & partner, took care of terrific flights, and a lot of fun on board. When Fokker perished, unfortunately we had no more access to the F27.
The Sing-Along evenings became famous, when the tasting cafe was full of people. One time, I had invited an English colleague to a Sing-Along. During the evening, he called his wife in England, and kept the phone on for her to enjoy the evening as well!
In the meanwhile, my friends Rob, Jan, Ronald, and Bart have got a place of their own In de Olofspoort's glass cabinet, with their personal liqueur bottle. They’re often present, to the amusement of many.
For years, my Club Med reunion, with my retired friends Leo, Jan, Henk, Wim and Bertus, takes place In de Olofspoort. A highlight! My partner Rudo really feels at home there as well, and so is brother-in-law Wim, and even his daughters show up sometimes.
Not to mention the tastings Riny shares with the audience; her prompt knowledge of different jenevers and liqueurs. Many friends appreciate these unique presentations. It goes without saying, you can find me again and again at In de Olofspoort, and with all my heart I congratulate everyone for this beautiful tasting house, wishing it a long and bright future!
Announcement in O.L.V. of the Holy Rozenkrans Church Amsterdam
By Pierre Valkering, sermon 2-12-2012
Yesterday afternoon I had something to celebrate, and together with a group of friends, I ended up in the seventeenth-century tasting house In de Olofspoort in the heart of old Amsterdam. I did not know it, but I found it splendid, a great atmosphere.
No music. The hostess Riny – with long, blond, wavy hair - regularly organizes private recital evenings in the cafe, I understood. Mostly Schubert. It fits the place perfectly, since the café is the natural environment where Franz Schubert’s lyrical songs originate from.
Riny proudly pointed to a large poster with a portrait of Aafje Heynis: ‘For a few years, she was my teacher’, she said, and: ‘I am very grateful’. Yes, I can imagine.
We ordered an Affligem,abbey beer. One of our friends insisted I should try a Hallelujah liqueur next to it – a liqueur that was worth its name, I found out. After, I hurried back home through the rain, yesterday afternoon around five - in a slight tipsy state I must admit - to bless the Advent's garland of candles in the dark church, before the evening prayer:
“We pray: bless this garland and these candles. They are a sign of Him, the Lord … They are a sign of life, of what we expect of Him; a sign that He is the light, who shines in the darkness. Let our love grow and let us go search for Thou with renewed focuses.’
With these words, the garland is blessed. I find it a beautiful, simple prayer, in which all our Christian belief and our hope is expressed: ‘Ye... the light, let our love grow, searching for Thou with renewed focus’. Oh yeah, dear guests and parishioners, from whom should we expect it, if not from our God? ‘Who should we otherwise turn to?’ (Joh. 6, 68). Should we turn to science? Somebody who just made things up for years was able to take his course as a professor. Is he the only one? Or should we turn to politics: should we expect it from that? The ladies and gentlemen politicians do their best – to come across well - but we have to economize anyway, and does this happen fairly? Or should we turn to doctors, should we expect it from them? How experienced and trustworthy are they? All kinds of consultations, medicine and treatments are suggested; do they really serve the interest of patients or the wallet of the doctor?
Yes, dear all, who do we turn to? 'Ye, whose light shines in the darkness', the prayer says. I do find these words tender. These words move me. There’s some unspoiled freshness in them. These are words 'of before sadness', the words of poet Maria Vasalis:
‘Tonight I saw a star for the first time
He was alone, he didn't tremble
I was aware of it all of a sudden
I saw a star, he stood alone
He was of light, he seemed so young and
Of before sadness.’
Yes, dear all, that's where we want to return to, to a world of before or after sadness has passed, a world where people stop to cause each other sadness, a world where the good light of God uninhibitedly can shine and be seen. ‘May the Lord abundantly increase your love for each other and for all people’. We heard these words in the second reading today, in Paulus' first letter to the inhabitants of Thessaloniki. ‘May the Lord abundantly increase your love for each other and for all people’. A good, meaningful encouragement, for us too. At the point of friendly and loving care for each other, apparently there are so called ‘opportunities in growth’, one can think indeed it could have been better.
‘Make sure your spirit doesn't get blunted by a whirl of drunkenness’. Yesterday evening I read these words from this Sunday's gospel in the evening prayer with - I told you already - an Affligem abbey beer and a Hallelujah liqueur under my belt. I felt enjoyably Catholic and at the same time you want to keep our spirits pure, keep things together and remain focused on the good light of God who is, grows and will be. I wish you, dear all, in this light a blessed Advent. Amen.
Readings from the prophet Jeremiah (14-16), Psalm 25, letter to the inhabitants of Thessaloniki (3, 12-4, 2), Lucas-gospel (21, 25-28.34-36).
Lynette Tapia & John Osborn
We have developed an exceptional and warm friendship with the incredible American tenor John Osborn, his wife Lynette Tapia and their dear daughter Ana.
John has performed various (leading) roles at the Dutch Opera in the Stopera, lately (by the time this piece was written) in Rossini's opera Guillaume Tell.
When John performed for the first time at the Dutch Opera, he was introduced to us by his colleague John Strange in the cafe. There was an immediate click with this wonderful person. Since then, he always visits us when he is working in Amsterdam. This is how we also met his wife, daughter, and family-in-law, a warm and talented family.
Several times, John took singer-colleagues to In de Olofspoort and even the entire opera-cast a few times. The guests by chance present at these moments, had the opportunity to fully enjoy their fantastic voices.
In 2013, John sang and performed the opera La Traviata in Verona. See Osborn’s and Tapia’s website en Facebook page.
‘Adding water to the wine’: demanding guests
‘A rest stop in the neighborhood’, our tasting house - in the heart of the city in the Red Light District - was called in a publication. With so many guests, we got used to various atmospheres in our tasting café, involving different situations. To us, the biggest challenge is to create a situation in which people feel understood. If someone happily leaves the house, we are satisfied, even with difficult guests. Not everyone is nice, we learned of course. There are rotten apples in the basket too. Simply, notorious harassers.
For a couple of naggers, the In de Olofspoort's door remains closed. When some guests come round to be part of it, we add ‘water to the wine’ and give it a try, often with amazing results. It is never too late to learn, for us too.