Listed as a Dutch National Heritage monument, this house started as a
merchant's home in the second half of 17th Century and also served, according to
anecdotal reference, as coach drivers' inn and also functioned as a secret
church in one period of religious conflict in Amsterdam.
house is built in the year 1666 in the heart of Amsterdam's historic city
centre. Nestled among the grander Herengracht mansions, this humble building has
played a part in Amsterdam's rich and sometimes controversial
The building's upper level housed the exotic Oriental wares, spices, tea,
silk, Chinese porcelain, among other things. The hoist beam outside Room
8 and the room's one slightly lower window is a relic of the building's
mercantile past (the room's lower window was originally a door-opening for
hoisting up or down the goods from the canal boats below. A guest jokingly
commented once about this typical protruding Amsterdam hoist beam (along with
the rapidly disappearing car-wrecking "Amsterdammertjes", the triple
x city banner, the "dukdalf" opposite our hotel and the National
Monument at the Dam) as being "sensual," to say it neatly. Well, no comments
The Past and The Present
...The symbolic golden keys
of Amsterdam (crafted right in this house by Amsterdam's famous jewelry firm
Bennewitz & Bonebakker) were presented to Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte during
his visit to the Netherlands on the 9th day of October 1811. Some years
later, the firm Bonebakker was assigned by King William II to craft the Dutch
Art & Jazz- the Pre-war Years...
During the pre-war era (and also to some extent today, just as informal and incognito) the hotel was a discrete and simple home to both struggling and established artists. Jazz musicians, painters, actors and actresses and the stage performers of the Amsterdam Tuschinsky Theater also had found their way to our front-door. Works of unknown painters found in the cellar may had been left or used as partial payment for the night in the hotel.
San Francisco Discovery...
Discovered recently behind an old
cupboard in a San Francisco Victorian house was a dusty family album with a
photo of hotel guests with their dog looking out of our windows. The album
traced the history of a family and their performing dogs through the theatre
halls of Europe to their new-found home, America.
Safe Haven- The War Years...
The hotel never closed its doors
during the war years, even to the Nazi Occupation Forces. But it also carried a
dark and dangerous secret...
In that period there is one room, number
9, which was never rented to hotel guests. Unknown to the officers and to their mistresses and lovers were the Jewish refugees and the Dutch resistance who secretly inched their way to the dark attic refuge through a hidden hole in room 9. Surprisingly, with this strange combination of the rulers and the persecuted in one roof, there had never been any razzias in the hotel. We have kept
the original hole in number 9 (we just covered and secured it to prevent
unwanted entry). Perhaps in the future it may come in handy to some persecuted
free-thinkers or to some hunted Havana cigar lovers who may need refuge from the
future Anti-Smoke Secret Police (?). Well, perhaps, but we hope that in a
so-called free, civilized, dignified and tolerant society, it will not go that
"dukdalf" * in front of the hotel
The "unsaintly" Dutch have their way of
dealing with their dukdalf- they tightly tie ropes around it and kick it
and hit it with their paddles (to secure, and to launch their boats,
respectively). Lord knows how hard they had hit and strangled this object those
The word "dukdalf" was an allusion to the Duke of Alva (duc
The Duke established a trial court which was was responsible for
the execution of countless people in the Netherlands. The Decree of Inquisition
which followed a few months later proclaimed the Netherlands as a country of
heretics and declared immediate death sentence to all Dutch citizens, with
"instant execution, without regard to age, sex or condition" (reference:
John Lothrop Motley's history of the Netherlands. See link - History of the
Duke of Alva).
Our hoist beam in all it's
Monument at the Dam
the stone tablet "Het Geloof " (the Faith)
Home along the
Puppet on a Chain- novel:
Alistair MacLean; Leading Roles: Sven-Bartil Taube and Barbara Parkins (Valley
of the Dolls, Peyton Place) Director: Geoffrey Reeve...Alistair McLean's book was filmed in Amsterdam with L'Europe and and our hotel included as movie settings. The passage in the book about the discrete hotel where the lady secret agent (Barbara Parkins) stayed may not very flattering compared to grand L'Europe but anyway, we just take it with a grain of salt. The scene at our ancient stair was OK but there was a little hitch with the camera angles indoors that our wretched room had to be cloned at Pinewoods Studio in London. Synopsis from New York Times...
Bloomers and the
exclusive shop situated in this building in the late 1800's counted the
Queen of Holland as its most prominent client. The shop's specialty was the
latest underwear fashion from Paris!