Florencia is The Hague’s biggest ice cream parlour. Since 1932 generations have flocked there to enjoy its authentic, home-made, hand-scooped Italian ices and endless litres of affordable coffee. The café and adjoining terrace are always crowded with people talking, laughing, daydreaming, waving to friends, smiling at strangers, greeting acquaintances, and even occasionally lost in a passionate embrace. In this ‘home from home’, anecdotes fly through the air and life stories are recounted at length.

Photographer Otto Snoek (b. Rotterdam 1966) likes to immerse himself in the crowd. He records what our modern, globalised – yet introverted – society looks like from the outside. The picture may not always be particularly elegant or optimistic, but it makes us reflect on the “spectacular society” in which we (generally still so unthinkingly) spend our lives.

The book Florencia – huiskamer van de stad is an initiative by designers Rieme Gleijm and Stephan Csikós. It is on sale in the GEM/Museum of Photography bookshop, price € 24.95.

This summer, museum restaurant Gember offers a traditional Florencia sorbet.

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