The Netherlands / Story

Jan Dommering, a brave hotelier-billiard player




Jan Dommering was a hotel owner and an internationally known billiard player. During the war, he collaborated with the resistance and remained in his hotel even after the Battle of Arnhem. A remarkable war story from a well-known Arnhemmer.

This path is named after Jan Berend Dommering, a well-known Arnhemmer who experienced the Battle of Arnhem and the period that followed from close by. 

Jan Dommering was born in Winschoten in Groningen in 1882. His father was a hotelier and Jan followed in his father's footsteps. He followed hotel training in Germany, where he also worked for a time in Munich. After that, he lived and worked in other European countries before opening his own hotel in Arnhem in 1907, the Hotel Bristol, which at the time was situated near the railway station. Later, he bought other hotels and also a cinema in the city of Groningen.

Jan was not only a hotelier and entrepreneur with a very good and international reputation (at one point he even advised the famous Waldorf Astoria in New York), but he was also a talented billiard player. Before the war, he participated in several competitions and became European and world champion. In 1927, he also won a world record. During the war, at the age of 60, he still competed.

But while continuing to play billiards and to carry on his profession as a hotelier, Jan Dommering was also involved in the resistance during the war. He helped to set up Arnhem commando squads and accommodated them in his hotel for meetings. But he also openly showed his aversion to the occupation; when at a certain moment a couple of NSB'ers hung a poster on the window of his hotel saying "No Jews here", Jan Dommering demonstratively removed it. The Germans found out that Jan was anti-German and locked him up in Camp Amersfoort for a while. Due to lack of evidence, they had to release him eventually.

When the city was evacuated by order of the Germans after the Battle of Arnhem, a select group was allowed to stay in the city as the "Technical Emergency Service". This service had the task of keeping the town habitable after the evacuation and met in Jan's hotel, working closely with them. However, nothing came of "keeping the town habitable"; the Germans, sometimes helped by German-supported Dutchmen, systematically plundered the town and houses were destroyed in the process, insofar as they had not already been hit by the violence of war.

Jan survived the war and was decorated for his help to the resistance. He died in 1958. It was not until 30 years after his death that this path was named after him. But not for his merits in the war, but for his merits as a billiard player.