1940 - 1945: Café de Walhoorn during the war years

Before the war, the Gravers family ran the café. Jan, his sister Geurtje and their mother have a small farm next to the café with some pigs, cows and chickens. They also farm a small amount of land. ​

When our country was occupied, the Germans ordered catering facilities to destroy their liquor supplies. They know their soldiers. Jan is notified about this, of course, but he believes it is a waste. He hides a portion of the gin and cognac stock and buries the bottles in the chicken coop as well as the stables. A small supply of gin is hidden in the box-bed. During the war, Jan secretly provides many people of Otterlo with a bottle when a party is being held. The hidden treasure in the box-bed is fatal for Jan.

Schnapps?
During a raid in the living room, a German officer thinks that he can smell liquor near to the box-bed. He exclaims in surprise "Schnapps". Jan assures the German officer that it absolutely cannot be schnapps. After all, the supplies had to be destroyed at the beginning of the war. He informs the German that there is the smell of gin all over the house because customers spilt their drinks over the years. Isn't that accurate? The German is sniffing all around the house and, he indeed believes that he can smell gin everywhere. Jan uses this opportunity to his advantage, and escapes the raid, through the section where the cows are kept. He runs inside through the garden of the Rectory. There, he lies flat on his stomach for several hours, until the coast is clear and he can return home. At home, it turns out that a bottle of gin is empty and lies broken on the floor.

Billiards
During the war years, the tension in the cafe regularly increases when, in addition to the people of Otterlo, German soldiers sometimes want to play billiards. The people of Otterlo, then take turns playing billiards and supposedly play a complicated, and especially long game. When the Germans complain about this, they are told they'd better go to the 'homeland' to play billiards. Jan lulled the parties, and the café remained open until at the end of 1944 there was not a drop of beer left. Jan now limits himself to taking care of the five cows and continues farming in the fields.

Present time: Café de Waldhoorn

De Waldhoorn in Otterlo is near National Park De Hoge Veluwe. For over 200 years De Waldhoorn has been a hospitable farm. What began as a stopping place for travelers developed into an all-round meeting point for lovers of nature and culture. On our terrace people meet to enjoy the morning sun before they go for a long walk or bike ride, or they come in after an energetic day to relax and have dinner in our cozy restaurant.

More information

Memories of war locations