The atmosphere is heavy, the decibel level very low, and the wooden decor both comforting, and inviting.
People in this café are either locals reading the newspapers while sipping a cappuccino, or, like me, tourists who just visited the Anne Frank House - which is just around the corner - and need a down time to collect their thoughts.
The Café de Oude Wester is a natural stop after an emotionally-draining couple of hours, which puts in perspective everything we know about the atrocities of World War II. How some lucky people live through it, how the city was affected by it. Was this very café the scene of nazi meetings, did it participate in hiding Jews? What these walls must have seen and heard throughout these years.
The warm smiles of the staff and the aromas emanating from the kitchen are a welcome invite back to the 21st century - as if they knew exactly what was on the minds of customers.