Frits van Haarlem
Frits van Haarlem was the son of an Amsterdam concert hall operator.
He was an independent theatrical agent. In 1884, he founded the first specialty theatre in the Netherlands. This theatre began in the Amsterdamse Grand Café and the Haagse Casino, but from 1893 onwards was located in the Amsterdamse Carré. Van Haarlem’s great talent was that he knew how to elevate crude entertainment to a more tasteful and artistic level. He brought internationally renowned artists to Amsterdam, and also offered a stage to many Dutch revue artists.
With producer and exhibitor F.A. Nöggerath Sr. and the Rotterdam projectionist Carl Pfläging, he introduced the cinematograph (an early movie projector) to the theatre. The last ten minutes of his speciality performances were always reserved for films. From 1898 to 1901, these films were presented by the Mutoscope en Biograaf Maatschappij. Occasionally the company also shot its own film, e.g. for the Amsterdam revue ‘Koning Kziezoowat’, produced by Van Haarlem. With the advent of cinemas around 1910, films gradually disappeared from the theatre.