The New Amsterdam Koffiehuis
Personal — 2019
The New Amsterdam Koffiehuis is a photo series about Amsterdam’s last traditional coffeehouses. The photographs are handprinted with coffee from the actual coffeehouses.
Due to the rise of large coffee chains, the traditional Amsterdam coffeehouse is fading into oblivion. Before these meeting places disappear from the streets of Amsterdam, photographer Gijs van den Berg believes it’s important to document them. He has photographed eleven coffeehouses: the authentic decor, the owners and their patrons.
The images are conventionally printed in the darkroom. Instead of using regular developer, however, Van den Berg uses a special recipe based on coffee from the actual coffeehouses. This homebrew developer (also known as cafenol) gives the photos a natural yellow/brown tint and makes each print unique.
Amsterdam used to feature many more small coffeehouses. Since the expansion of the city around 1900, Amsterdam coffeehouses have fulfilled a vital social function. Together, the owners and clientele create a warm, open atmosphere that is unique in the city. By photographing his subjects on a monumental scale, van den Berg captures an era as it passes, and creates a document for the future.
In 2019; The work is making it’s way to New Amsterdam where a 20-foot container will be transformed into a temporary small Amsterdam coffeehouse during the Photoville festival in Brooklyn.