Café Dutchman

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Exterior view Café Holländer

Café Holländer was a café that existed from 1906 to 1956 in Elberfeld, now a district of Wuppertal.


The building at Islandufer 5 had been erected in 1906 adjacent to Neue Fuhr as a domed corner building, architecturally in the Art Nouveau style and visually designed to attract attention.[1] In 1907, C. Heymann’s repertory of technical journal literature described the construction as “of stone, concrete and iron”. According to this, the building had electric lighting by means of a suction gas system, low-pressure steam heating, and an electrically operated passenger elevator.[2] The café was furnished with furniture by the Austrian designer Adolf Loos. Musical groups often performed in the establishment.[3]

After the extensive destruction of the neighbourhood around the Brausenwerth in 1943 by the air raid on Elberfeld in World War II, the building was only put in a makeshift state of repair and was demolished in June 1956. Literature describes the coffeehouse as “an exquisite big-city café where generations of Wuppertalers have danced”.[1]



  • Baedeker’s Rhineland, 1925, p. 305.
  • When the writer Ernst Toller came to Elberfeld for a reading on 17 February 1925, the poet Else Lasker-Schüler, who was born here, implored her Elberfeld friend Karl Krall from Berlin to show the writer her childhood home and take him to the Café Holländer.[4] She thematized the café in her work Unmotivated Cigarette Vapor.[5]
  • Fritz Hüser of the Dortmunder Gruppe 61 described the coffee house in his letters as “something like a literary café”.[6]
  • In his 1910 travelogue, a British traveller wrote: “At the Café Holländer in Elberfeld I dined with three of the party, one of whom suggested that we had been served horseflesh. To clarify this assumption we turned to the head waiter, who sharply rejected this in quite proper English and announced in a loud voice that horsemeat was not served in any of the Elberfeld restaurants.”[7]

Web links

Commons: Café Holländer– Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual references

  1. a b General-Anzeiger Wuppertal, 18 July 1956. in: Hinrich Heyken The Talstraße. Traffic axis of the city. Part A: Planning and construction 1930-1972. S. 30.
  2. Repertorium of technical journal literature 1906. c. Heymann, 1907, p. 60.
  3. Julio Vives Chillida El Café Holländer de Elberfeld-Wuppertal (Alemania). In: of 19 November 2018.
  4. Marbacher Magazin. Issues 71-72, Schiller National Museum and German Literature Archive Marbach, 1995, ISBN 3-92914-626-6, p. 196.
  5. Ulrike Schrader: “Nobody recognized me.” Else Lasker-Schüler in Wuppertal. Begegnungsstätte Alte Synagoge, Wuppertal 2003.
  6. Fritz Hüser, Jasmin Grande (eds.): Fritz Hüser 1908-1979: Briefe. Assoverlag, 2008, p. 30.
  7. Original text: “In the Café Holländer, at Elberfeld, I had tea with three of the party, one of whom made the suggestion that we had been served with horseflesh. We appealed to the head waiter, who spoke fair English, for confirmation of the assertion, and he somewhat hotly repudiated the idea, exclaiming rather loudly that it was impossible to obtain horseflesh in any Elberfeld restaurant.”
    In: Reports on Labour and Social Conditions in Germany. Volumes 1 to 2, Tariff Reform League, London 1910, p. 100.