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WHAT IS A GRAND CAFÉ?

In our attempt to translate the feeling of “Gezellig” to American shores, we took inspiration from two seminal Lowlands European institutions – the first being spacious Grand Cafés with their light-filled spaces and their inviting outdoor spaces, and the second being traditional Brown Cafés (bruin café), with their dark and cozy woodwork and laid-back vibe. Both of these cafés are used as “public living rooms” and are the perfect place to waste a few hours with a snack and a newspaper, or a place to meet a group of friends over a drink.

WHAT IS A GRAND CAFÉ?

In our attempt to translate the feeling of “Gezellig” to American shores, we took inspiration from two seminal Lowlands European institutions – the first being spacious Grand Cafés with their light-filled spaces and their inviting outdoor spaces, and the second being traditional Brown Cafés (bruin café), with their dark and cozy woodwork and laid-back vibe. Both of these cafés are used as “public living rooms” and are the perfect place to waste a few hours with a snack and a newspaper or a place to meet a group of friends over a drink.

Patio Crusaders

Whether it’s a hundred year-old building, or new construction, our goal is to make “gezellig” spaces that feel great to be in. From our very first Café Hollander location on Milwaukee’s East Side, providing great outdoor spaces has played a huge part in creating spaces filled with life. Our patios, decks, courtyards and convertible spaces make the most of our short summer seasons and activate streets and sidewalks of the neighborhoods we’re a part of. Walk by on any summer afternoon and you’ll find spaces filled with neighbors, kids, dogs, bikes and more!

The Signs Are Everywhere

In the early 20th century, well over 3,000 breweries operated in Belgium, and they each produced copious quantities of enamel signs to catch the eye of thirsty, potential customers. Each village usually had at least one brewery in operation, so the diversity and variety of these signs was sure to lure collectors. One such collector is Jan De Plus, who operates the Bierreclamemuseum (Beer Advertising Museum) in the Dutch city of Breda, not far from the Belgian border.

 

We may not operate a museum like Jan does, but the Lowlands Group possesses one of the largest collections of vintage enamel Belgian and European bier signs outside of the continent. While our entire collection is not available for public viewing, our cafés proudly display a select group of these signs, many of which predate the WWII era.

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