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Gay News : Publications : Issue 291 : Final Stop of Meeting Place COC Zwolle

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Final Stop of Meeting Place COC Zwolle

by our Editors in Scene , 31 oktober 2015

COC Zwolle will stop running its bar De Garage. The bar on the Kamperstraat in the centre of Zwolle was renovated 6 months ago and enthusiastically reopened, but suffered too much loss. The bar closed down on October 1.

For the moment, the office at the upper level will remain in use, but COC Zwolle will stop using this part of the building later this year. The letter, a foundation affiliated with COC Netherlands, will put the listed building on the market.

The closure of the bar marks the end of decades of clubbing in COC venues at three different locations in the centre of Zwolle. President of COC Zwolle Ilja de Jong: “It is a terrible shame and it hurts, but even without the bar COC Zwolle is very much alive, through education at schools in Zwolle and its region and attention for special target groups.”

COC Zwolle had been working towards a restart with the help of volunteers and enthusiastic local entrepreneurs.

Ms. De Jong: “It was a bold move that was not without risk. It is not easy for bars in general. Clubbing and socialising have changed - not so much in regular patterns of weekly nights out at a familiar venue. The obviousness of hundreds of party guest on the Saturday we used to welcome on 17 Kamperstraat is a thing of the past. We told each other that we had the choice of going out like a night candle or with a bang, with at least hope for a revival. We chose the latter, with a dramatic new look and a welcoming atmosphere open to everyone.”

The result of the facelift was wonderful, but the bar stools remained empty. De Jong: “You could argue that a revival may take more time, but that was not in the cards from a business perspective. Continuing for another six months with no funds would endanger the other activities of COC Zwolle. It was an obvious choice.”

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In the New Issue of Gay News, 311, July 2017

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