Jos Stelling Filmprodukties b.v. was founded on April 29, 1975. Stelling produced films such as Mariken van Nieumeghen, Elckerlyc, Rembrandt fecit 1669, De Illusionist en De Wisselwachter, De Vliegende Hollander, De Wachtkamer, No Trains No Planes and The Gas station, The Gallery, Duska and his most recent: Het Meisje en de Dood.
In 1977 Jos Stelling decided to expand his activities by starting a film theatre, because the Tuschinski concern showed that Utrecht needed an arthouse cinema as well.
With the support of Tuschinski, the first screening was organised on Thursday, February 16, 1978 in a completely renovated “ruin” on the Springweg. It was a success. In the early years, 50,000 tickets were sold each year. However, this number declined along with national cinema visits.
The initiative expanded five years later with the purchase of the café next door. The café was restored to its original state and became an integral part of “a night out in Springhaver”.
However, in between the café and the cinema was a small but noisy machine factory. The factory went bankrupt and Springhaver 2 was opened on Thursday 2 May 1985. It was a success and the initial decline in visitor numbers came to a stop.
When the new foyer was opened in 1989, the various parts of the buildings were connected to each other and it was possible to walk from the back of the café to the cinema and vice versa.
As of September 1, 1995, the foyer has been expanded with a salad bar, which was replaced on May 1, 1998 by an extensive kitchen. Since then, it is possible to eat in both the café and the foyer.
The existence Springhaver was threatened at the beginning of the year 2000 by the announcement of an initiative supported by the municipality to set up an Art-plex in Utrecht. The intention was that Springhaver would become part of this Art-plex, which meant Springhaver would be unable to continue in the current form. This was the reason for the purchase and furnishing of an own Artplex adding an arthouse cinema in the former Tolsteeg police station. The Louis Hartlooper Complex was opened in 2004 and Springhaver was able to continue the way it was. Springhaver has been rated one of the three best and most authentic cafés in Utrecht, according to Horeca Nederland.
View the booklet “130 jaar Springhaver Theater Café” (130 years of Springhaver Theatre Café) and the booklet “Lief Dagboek – Springhaver 1980-2015. Wel en Wee van de Medewerkers” (Dear Diary – Springhaver 1980-2015. The out and abouts of the employees.”) by clicking on the images below.