Rembrandt Theater

Velperplein 10,
Arnhem 6811

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Pathé

Architects: C. Nap, G.J. Van Ede

Previous Names: Rembrandt Luxe, Minerva Rembrandt Arnhem, Pathé Rembrandt Arnhem 5, City Cinema Rembrandt

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Rembrandt Theater

There were two Rembrandt Theaters in history.

This replaced an older Rembrandt Theater that opened in 1927 with a capacity of 700 seats after the original Art Deco styled theater (designed by architect Hubert Brück) was bombed during World War II in September 1944. Out of the entire damage, only the facade was left standing. During its days during the war, the first Rembrandt Theater was used several times by the occupiers for official both normal and Nazi meetings.

The newer Rembrandt Theater opened its doors on December 16, 1954 as part of a major reconstruction after the area was badly damaged from destruction in World War II, even the area was still severely damaged after the war. The Rembrandt Theatre opened as a single-screener on Velperplein and was built on the site of the Telegraaf and Telephone Building.

The building itself has an original seating capacity of 872 seats and was designed by Arnhem based architects C. Nap and GJ Van Ede, featuring a functionalist style with many typical 1950’s accents. The Italian natural stone facade elements with reliefs by John Grosman were also detailed as special decorations and also added sgraffito walls in the upper foyer.

After its 1954 opening, the Rembrandt Theater quickly became the leading cinema in Arnhem. It was so popular that it was the setting for the Arnhem International Film Festival between 1955 and 1983. The “Film Week Arnhem” was a household name both nationally and internationally at that time. When many cinemas in the country began to decline in the 1970’s, the foyer was converted into a Chinese Restaurant Tong Fang in order to keep the operation profitable.

After the Rembrandt Theater’s first owner, Salomon Van Biene, died in 1962, his body laid in state inside the main auditorium for one day.

The Rembrandt Theater also offered a stage for performances art, but because there was too much competition for the theater, the stage quickly became a second screen in 1970, and the theater became a twin. It became known as Rembrandt Luxe.

In 1977, the Rembrandt Theater officially became the first movie theater in the Netherlands to play “Star Wars”. At the time, the theater’s property was part of the Cinema Exploitation Company.

Between both the 1980’s and 1990’s is when cinema attendance in the Netherlands majorly increased again. This led a complete renovation to the Rembrandt Theater in 1996 leading up to an expansion including an additional three more screens being added bringing a total to five screens. When it reopened, it had a total capacity of over 1,000 seats. At the time, the theater was part of the Minerva chain who operated the Rembrandt Theater since 1984, and was taken over by Pathé in 2010.

When the Pathé chain left the building in October 2015 for the opening of the new 9-screen Pathé Arnhem at Arnhem Central Station, the Rembrandt Theater closed its doors and became vacant. However in early-2016, an attempt on rebooting the theater known as “City Cinema Rembrandt” immediately failed after nearly 10 months, causing the theater to close again on December 31, 2016.

Contributed by 50sSNIPES
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