2000 The beginning

The inspiration to start our meetup café came from Marijke Burger, who began a similar café in Haarlem in the early 1990s.

Café Dapper was established following the discussion group for people with intellectual disabilities and LGBTQ+ feelings, led by Erik Derks since 1998. In collaboration with COC Nijmegen, Erik Derks and Han Polman founded Café Dapper. The first meeting took place on the fourth Sunday of October 2000.

From the start, a dedicated team joined us. René Kusters handled bar duties, and Agnes Grul took care of refreshments.

After Erik and Han stepped down, René Kusters took over the coordination.

Today, Café Dapper focuses on diversity, welcoming everyone to our meetup days.

2008 Burgemeester Ien Dales Award

Erik en Han krijgen de Burgemeester Ien Dalesprijs overhandigd Cees van der Pluijm.

In 2008, Café Dapper was honored with the Mayor Ien Dales Award! This prestigious award recognizes individuals or organizations in the Nijmegen region who have voluntarily and exceptionally embodied the principles of Article 1 of the Constitution in a personal and exemplary manner.

2010 10th Anniversary Celebration Featuring a Performance by Sieneke

2015 National Day and 15th Anniversary

Report: National Meetup Day for LGBTQ+ Individuals with (Mild) Intellectual Disabilities

Nijmegen, October 18, 2015

After thorough preparations, it’s finally time to head to the Lindenberg where the national meetup day will be held.

The hall fills up early as visitors are greeted at the door, where they receive their drink vouchers and program information. Some guests are picked up from Central Station by our volunteers because they can’t make the trip to Lindenberg on their own. Other guests arrive with their companions, service dogs, or by taxi. Each guest is given two drink vouchers and two meal vouchers for the buffet later. Coffee and tea are complimentary. Of course, there will be cake to celebrate Café Dapper’s 15th anniversary this year.

The official opening will be conducted by councilor Bert Frings. In his opening speech, he emphasizes the importance of an afternoon like this for our target audience, as loneliness among them occurs far too often. He also expresses his willingness to collaborate with the organization to invite this group to the 100th Vierdaagse event.

After his speech, there will be a special message for the female attendees. They are often in the minority at various meetings across the country, and this is a great opportunity for them to exchange contact information and arrange to attend future events together.

Following the speeches, several performances are scheduled. The presentation will be led by Albert Jan Aartsen and his assistant, Miss Match.

De openingsact is Suara, de band van Gaby Dumas. Deze band zorgt meteen dat de stemming erin zit. Tussen de acts door verzorgt onze vaste d.j. Frank Jacops de muziek. In de zaal lopen ook de look-a-like van de Dikke en de Dunne rond. Veel gasten willen met hen op de foto. Na Suara is het tijd voor het optreden van Kees Verlaar. Hij zet een prima Zangeres zonder Naam neer. Maar ook zijn liveoptreden is een succes.

The opening act is Suara, led by Gaby Dumas, setting the mood right from the start. In between performances, our resident DJ Frank Jacops keeps the music going. Throughout the venue, look-alikes of Laurel and Hardy stroll around, much to the delight of guests eager for a photo op. Following Suara, it’s time for Kees Verlaar’s performance. He delivers a fantastic rendition of Zangeres zonder Naam, and his live show is equally well-received.

After Erik Derks performed with his regular pianist, it’s time to open the buffet. Guests can choose between hamburgers, noodles, or a vegetarian lasagna, all expertly prepared by De Lindenberg, and everyone is thoroughly pleased.

Afterwards, it’s time for the closing act. Our regular visitors Patricia, Kees, and Danny (the entertainer) will take over, guaranteeing a fantastic party. The entire hall will join in the conga line.

With about 120 attendees, Nijmegen can reflect on a successful national day. Guests’ feedback was also positive. The “Happy boys and girls” from Tilburg were so enthusiastic that they announced their intention to host the national day next year.

2017 Roze Ster (Pink Star)

In 2017 ontving René De Roze Ster. De Roze Ster van Nijmegen wordt uitgereikt aan een persoon die zich op bijzondere wijze inzet voor de homobeweging in Nijmegen en omgeving. Dit kunnen vrijwillige activiteiten zijn, maar ook betaalde activiteiten. Belangrijkste is dat de activiteiten tot doel hebben bij te dragen aan een brede zichtbaarheid van de homobeweging en seksuele diversiteit in Nijmegen en omgeving. Tevens dient de activiteit een verbindend element te kennen.

In 2017, René was awarded the Pink Star of Nijmegen. This accolade is given to individuals who significantly contribute to the LGBTQ+ movement in and around Nijmegen. These contributions can range from voluntary to professional activities all aimed at promoting greater visibility of the LGBTQ+ community and sexual diversity in the region. Additionally, these efforts are noted for their unifying impact on the community.

2017 Agnes bids farewell after 17 years of loyal service.

Just like René, Agnes has been involved as a volunteer from the very beginning in our social gatherings. She took care of all the shopping for snacks and decorations. Agnes lovingly prepared all our snacks and treats. Below are the photos from the farewell party. Additionally, she was always there to lend a listening ear to our guests. Agnes, on behalf of the Café Dapper team and all our patrons, thank you for 17 wonderful years filled with love.

2020 René Receives Royal Honor

In 2020, René was honored with a Royal Decoration by the Mayor of Nijmegen, Bruls, making him a Member in the Order of Orange-Nassau. This distinction was in recognition of his contributions both at school and as a volunteer with COC Region Nijmegen.

René works in Special Education with children on the autism spectrum and those with behavioral issues. He introduced “Dog in the Classroom” there, alongside our dog Siro, forming a team that has been together for nearly 13 years. Seven years ago, Thisong joined them, making them a trio. This innovative approach with dogs has proven highly effective, leading to the introduction of multiple dogs in the school.

Additionally, René has volunteered with COC Region Nijmegen for many years. He began as an educator around 1992 and later became the bar coordinator. Taking over from Erik and Han in 2011 at Café Dapper, located in Villa Lila, René has since served as coordinator and primary contact, embodying dedication and leadership in the community.

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