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‘t Bölke in Enschede

by Vincent van der Kraan , 03 augustus 2003

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

Since 12 years now Frans Loohuis (41) and Hans Oudeheuvel (39) are the proud owners of bar/disco/restaurant/sauna ‘t Bölke’ in Enschede. One year ago the whole place underwent a complete transformation and was re-opened on December 12 last year with a grand party.

The large disco area is very high and, like a theatre in the round, surrounded by different levels all looking down on the dancefloor below. On the ground floor behind the disco there’s a bar, open all week, also when the disco is closed. On the first foor you’ll find another bar, a snackbar/restaurant and a MenOnly bar with darkroom. You’ll find the entrance to the sauna outside.

Hans Oudeheuvel tells us that the renovation took a year, while normal activities simply went on. Clients sometimes had to use a bag of cement for a stool, but who cares. All the floors and walls were taken out and redone. Regular clients were so attached to the old place, that they wanted to own parts of the old decorations. So parts of the old bar for instance were sawed off and for a symbolic price taken home as souvenir. Preferably a part the particular client had been sitting at for years.

The rest of the interior was put out in the street and it didn’t take long for clients to also take that home with them. Clients closely followed renovation proceedings and their remarks were often used as ideas for improvements. It was a year of improvisations but now the renovation of the bar, disco and restaurant is a fact. With a complete new infrastructure of heating, sound, video screens, computers, etc. Artists only have to bring their own mike, the rest is all here. Performances can also be taped with a closed video system.

Now the sauna is up for a complete make over. Four floors will be added, enlarging the place to some 400 m2. It will have a big roof terrace and a large fitness area. Another jacuzzi will be added. The entire complex including disco, bar, restaurant and sauna will cover some 1800 m2.


Frans Loohuis tells us the disco public is gay or gay minded. All age groups are present here, but the one between 20 and 30 is the largest. The age for coming out has gone down from 22, some years ago, to 16 or 17. Young gays are really young now and what is striking is that they all look truly happy and content. The lesbian community has become more feminine and more friendly. Also relations between gay men and women have improved. Twenty years ago these scenes were strictly separated but that’s a thing of the past now. The disco public flocks to the place from everywhere in Holland. Each weekend there’s a special bus coming from Rotterdam. And since Enschede is close to the border, a quarter of the public is coming from Germany.

The east of Holland has few facilities for leather lovers. The MenOnly darkroom hasn’t done much to stimulate the growth of a leather crowd. But there are plans for a Mister Leather Contest. When and how is still under discussion.


A choice selection of Dutch artists and dj’s have graced the floorboards of ’t Bölke’ with their presence. The owners have no interest to join the rat race of pursuing the latest trends, but rather see their public have a swell time meeting other people and making new friends in a relaxed and cozy atmosphere. Together with their public and employees all they want is to make sure everyone is having a good time.

For more information look at

’t Bölke
Molenstraat # 4-6-8
Tel: (053) 4341341
Opening hours:
Café daily from 21:00 till 04:00 hrs
Disco Fr and Sa from 23:00 till 04:00 hrs
Sauna daily from 14:00 till 24:00 hrs (Fr-Sa 02:00 hrs)



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In the New Issue of Gay News, 326, October 2018

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