The bridges of Amsterdam: a jewel of hospitality

The “houses” of the bridges of Amsterdam become hotel suites with a view to the canals

The exterior of Meeuwenpleinburg, built in 1969, designed by Dirk Sterenberg

It is difficult not to be impressed by the number of bridges scattered across Amsterdam – 1281, according to the last survey – the oldest of which dates back to 1648. Some are romantic, others are imposing engineering work which, for over a century, had been hosting the bridge keepers, who used to open and close the bridges to allow boats to pass. However, with the introduction of a centralized system to monitor bridges, the buildings with the guardians’ houses have gradually been left empty and unused.

Interiors of Meeuwenpleinburg

Today, many of the bridge “houses” in Amsterdam are being converted into hospitality facilities.

Amstelschutsluis was designed by Joannes Hudde in the 17th century. Indoor furniture, doors and windows were restored in line with the historic style of the building

SWEETS Hotel: 5-star hospitality on Amsterdam’s bridges

This ambitious program, conceived in 2012, entails the opening of 28 ‘bridge houses’: some of the buildings used to monitor the bridges have been transformed into rooms for two. SWEETS hotel, as the project is called, offers already 15 facilities open to the public. The other suites are being restored and will be available by the end of 2020.

The exterior of Amstelschutsluis

The SWEETS hotel project is conceived by Space&Matter, the development partner Grayfield, and Seven New Things (Suzanne Oxenaar, Otto Nan and Gerrit Groen, the founders of the Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy and The Exchange hotels).

The Scharrebiersluis bridge, restored by studio Space&Matter as the other structures

A room with a view (to the Amsterdam canals)

The tiny buildings show different styles of architecture, from the school of Amsterdam to modernism. Some of these structures are national monuments; several bridges are located in busy areas, others in quieter neighborhoods. They all share the same unique view to Amsterdam’s canals.

The Wiegbrug bridge was designed by Mathieu Ponsen in 1990

Each bridge house tells its history. The oldest, the Amstelschutsluis, on a island in the middle of the Amstel river, was built in 1673, while the most recent, Sluis Haveneiland, was built in 2009. The 28 bridge houses of the SWEETS Hotel project, are scattered across Amsterdam, and the interiors of each harmonize with the architectural style of the exterior, making the best use of the small area of the house. [Text Luisa Castiglioni – Photo Mirjam Bleeker, Dieuwertje Komen]

Discover also Heckfield Place: from an ancient manor house to a boutique hotel

Discover also AUGust: in Antwerp, a former convent converted into a hotel by Vincent Van Duysen

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