The Café Nepomuk (GmbH for the promotion of socio-cultural initiatives, SOKI for short) was founded in September 1983 together with the non-profit Nepomuk Kulturverein e.V. The café and the association were the “small solution” of an initiative for a socio-cultural center in Reutlingen, which was not politically feasible at the time. Three women and three men founded the Nepomuk as a self-governing business and the cultural association. The premises offered about 50 seats and a small stage.
The “culture café” Nepomuk was essentially fed by the idea that gainful employment should be combined with personal, cultural and political interests – in other words, by a conception of life and work as a (perhaps contradictory) unity. For the founders and for generations of employees, this was one of the central qualities of the idea of self-management.
A cozy social meeting place was to be brought into connection with culture and politics. Over the years, the impetus for the cultural and political work was provided by the undogmatic-left and feminist parts of the new social movements.
Gastronomy and Culture
From the beginning, there was a fixed institution, the women´s café (which no longer exists) with a regular program of events. Exhibitions were shown and there were events in the area of theater, cabaret and music, as well as political information and discussion events. However, due to the lack of space and the sometimes contradictory demands of gastronomy and culture, the self-set goals often remained unachieved or unattainable. Attempts at the end of the 1980s to found a cultural and commercial center with other self-managed businesses and initiatives failed when the building in Albstraße was sold to the employment office.
Move to the premises “Unter den Linden”
Then in 1993 Café Nepomuk moved to the rooms “Unter den Linden 3” (the former cinema of the French garrison).
The size of the premises offered opportunities for development, but also required a new organization of the business.
After the first years after the move, the forces were tied up in establishing the gastronomy in another part of the city, the event activity was further developed and professionalized with the creation of a “cultural center“.
Foundation of franz.K
Since December 2008, a long-standing goal has been achieved with the founding of the franz.K cultural center. Gastronomy and culture have their own suitable rooms and the two independent businesses complement each other in the same building.
The separation enabled both parts of the company to further develop their individual strengths and skills.
After almost a year of reconstruction of the house by the city of Reutlingen and our self-financed reconstruction of the guest room, we were able to concentrate on our operational goals after a consolidation phase and contribute our part to the success of the entire offer in the house. In addition to the cultural program at franz.K, we always pay attention to a suitable atmosphere and culinary complement.
The Nepomuk has continued to grow – both in the range of services and in the staff. Today we employ more than 40 people.
We are slowly trying to get away from the established name “Café” Nepomuk, because we have long been more than that. We have set up a broad portfolio of banquets and caterings. Among other things, the beer garden has been expanded to include an urban vegetable corner and a “Fairteiler“, where food gets saved from being thrown away. On some Saturdays, concerts are again held as part of the “CultureClub” founded together with franz.K. The “CultureClub” is a unique event. And this both cozy in the winter by candlelight or as open-air in the beer garden. In addition, every second Friday we invite you to dance in our Nepomuk disco. And together with Seebrücke Reutlingen we started demonstrations and information events to stand up for refugees.
We continue to see ourselves as a space for open exchange, social interaction and cultural coming together.
If you want to learn more about us, our history, and the idea of self-governance, check out the interview we recently did online with our founders and staff. Unfortunately it is in German. Hopefully you understand that it takes too much effort for us to add a translation but you could try the automatic English translation by YouTube.