In the largest ice-cream parlor of The Hague whole generations have enjoyed licking up their favorite Italian ice-cream.
Florencia sells coffee, too; many gallons of coffee are brewed each day to serve a dedicated crowd of regular clients. Many clients won’t miss a day: their faces are familiar, they exchange greetings with other repeat customers, they engage in conversations, play chess, slap each other’s shoulders, plant a kiss. They have stories to tell, the truth about their lives as well as fantasies told so well that they are made to believe; they tell jokes with a straight face, just as easy.
Florencia is The Hague’s living room where nostalgia is rampant Stephan Csikós
When Florencia opens its doors at 7:30 a.m., a small group of customers will have gathered already outside, on the terrace; the doors are never closed before midnight. In the long hours in between Florencia resembles the EU parliament, with people of all ages and all nationalities meeting there and many different languages and dialects to be heard (including of course ‘Haags’, the dialect of folksy The Hague). Among them one can detect judges and jobbing stonemasons, ladies and Lolitas, tax evaders and traffic cops.
The smell of old-fashioned coffee reigns in Florencia’s interior, which hasn’t changed a bit since the early 1960s. This is the true living room of the city. Its uniqueness was presented and saved for prosperity in a photobook designed by Rieme Gleijm and Stephan Csikós. Photographer Otto Snoek created more than 70 portraits of Florencia regulars. The book was produced by Mizja Haak (Colorativa). The anthropologist Dr. Frank Bovenkerk wrote an essay for the book about Florencia’s importance as seen from an historic perspective. Interviews with customers (by George Vermij and Bob van der Sterre) add wonderful portraits in text.