From the moment you step onto Oude Boteringestraat in Groningen, you are immersed in the city’s rich history. Here you can admire the oldest and best-preserved parts of the historic centre. This street is steeped in tales from the past, including the story of Professor Tjalling Joostes Halbertsma.
This professor fell in love with a characteristic building whose façade is decorated with wooden spandrels with floral motifs. Its façade almost seems to change colour with the passing of the seasons, giving the impression that the street is in constant motion. It is therefore no surprise that Tjalling Halbertsma chose this very building to raise his family. It was here that he and his adventures would leave an indelible mark that continues to be felt to this day.
As a professor of Greek language and literature and Greek antiquity and art history at the University of Groningen, he introduced his students to new insights. Also across the border, in Spain, France, Italy, and Greece. He was loved for his jovial, open, and hospitable manner, and he won many hearts.
So too in Oude Boteringestraat, where he coloured the streetscape with his distinctive rosy-red cheeks. He often walked home from work, and along his route he was moved by nature that continued to amaze him every day. He made many friends, was an avid traveller, and enjoyed sharing his experiences with his family and friends. Halbertsma was a hospitable man. A real family man. For although he loved discovering different cultures and enjoying the many inspirations with which he approached life, he always returned to his city with its beautiful streets and nature, and to his beloved family home on Oude Boteringestraat.
In 1900, the Halbertsma family home was completely renovated, and it was none other than Halbertsma’s grandson who laid the foundation stone – laying the first connection between the old and the new. It was here that the property as we know it today sprung to life, where the old, rustic part of the building has been preserved and flows into a bright and modern space. In fact, we can still detect the legacy of the family we respect, for it was Tjalling Halbertsma who made a lasting impression on the city that is still palpable to this day. He brought art and culture to Groningen and coloured the city with it. Through his personality, his love of Groningen and urban nature, and our vision, we bring city by nature to life. This is the only way to experience the city at its best.
Professor Halbertsma’s story continues as you explore the building and discover the various well-preserved spots. As you take a seat in the café, Halbertsma’s hospitality is still palpable. His open, welcoming, and jovial nature made him a delightful person to spend time with. And thanks to his blond, curly hair and his rosy-red cheeks, he was affectionately known as ‘blozende Tjall’, ‘blushing Tjall’. Café Tjall is therefore the perfect place to enjoy an evening in good company and with your favourite drink.
Walk in Professor Tjalling Halbertsma’s footsteps along Oude Boteringestraat and look up at the façade. Discover a city that has evolved over the centuries but has at its heart remained the same. A city where you can enjoy culture, art, and spending time together, whether that is with your friends, colleagues, or friends. This is your sanctuary. Your inspiration and respite from the hustle and bustle of life.