Coffee Houses of The Hague, Haagse Koffietenten

Coffee houses of The Hague,  Haagse Koffietenten

A ‘Haagse Koffietent’- coffee house of The Hague- is something totally different from a modern coffee shop. It is a detached, often wooden building with a flat roof. They are very tiny, often about 20m2. It’s the location of these houses that fascinates me. They are very close to the road or even in between roads. The doors are open from 5 in the morning. It is as if time has stood still. The coffee comes from a old glass coffeepot, a dying object in most restaurants.

The history of these coffee houses of The Hague goes back to the beginning of the last century. At this time the workers got their weekly wage paid in the local pub. The wage was instantly turned into alcohol, which resulted in a nearly empty pay packet to bring home. In the fight against alcohol abuse, the League Against Alcohol Abuse founded these coffee corners and from now on the weekly wage was paid here, where only lemonade and coffee with cake was sold. The consumption of alcohol and the poverty of the working class where reduced with the arrival of these coffee houses.