Edition 28 September 2017, by Marc G. baker
This isn’t a crime scene. Or, in a sense: it is. Exactly 90 years ago, the crime passionel of the century took place on Rembrandt Square. The most notable victim: Journalist turned chansonnier Jean-Louis Pisuisse. A larger than life character, married to costar Jenny Gilliams. One of Pisuisse’s band members, Tjakko Kuiper, vied for Jenny’s affection. They had an affair, but Jenny ended their entanglement. In the autumn of 1927 Jean-Louis and Jenny had dinner at what is now the Schiller Hotel’s brasserie, next to the present café of the same name. When the couple crossed the square afterwards, the jealous lover leapt from behind the Rembrandt statue and shot them both. Then Tjakko killed himself. The Pisuisse-Gilliams funeral was a national event and their portraits still adorn the walls of Café Schiller to this day. For almost a 100 years, the Schiller café has been known for its bohemian clientele.
Writers, philosophers, journalists, spies and painters have all found their way to this haven of tranquillity on an otherwise bustling city square. Its décor is often considered to be either art deco or art nouveau – which is rather incongruous as these are two decidedly different styles. As it happens, it is an amalgamation of the two. The many paintings are by erstwhile proprietor Mr. Frits Schiller. Quite a lot of special beers like Maneblusser, Tripel Karmeliet and Wolf 7 can be found at this delightful establishment, alongside a selection of first class wines. The cuisine is diverse: the menu offers Dutch ‘stamppot’ as well as French coq au vin. Next month you will find the place overcrowded with patrons sporting blue key cords. Don’t let this upset you; it’s just the charming personnel of the IDFA documentary festival. Nevertheless, you might want to book your table in advance.