HISTORY: HOTEL DE L’EUROPE

Hotel De L’Europe Is One Of The Most Iconic Landmarks In The Netherlands. In Amsterdam, It’s A Rare Occurrence For  A Business To Continue Operating At The Same Site For Many Years, Yet This Is The Case For De L’Europe, And It All Happened In A Unique Way.

From 1400

Until  the 15th-century, Amsterdam had never had any need to build defence walls.The city was located in the middle of marshlands and swamps, and the only thing that separated it from the countryside was a deep canal surrounding the entire city. In 1482, when the danger of war was imminent, the citizens constructed a wall with towers at its farthest corners in under one year.  Built in 1535, one of these towers was called ‘Rondeel’ and was constructed on the very spot where De L’Europe stands today.

1593

Amsterdam expanded during this year, with the addition of a strip of land between two of the oldest canals, and so a new embankment was built. While the  Rondeel tower wasn’t needed to defend the city anymore, it remained there  as it was for several decades.

1638

During this year, an  inn was built on the side of the old Rondeel, partially constructed on the same foundation. Owned by a man named Mr. Jordan, it was a simple inn in the beginning,  but business seemingly went very well, because in 1652 the Amstel River-facing side was renovated, and a beautiful Renaissance style facade was built.

1772

It wasn’t until 1772 that the inn made it onto the news again. Thanks to an article in the Amsterdam Gazette on February 21st, 1772, we know that Reynier Welters had been running the Rondeel for  the previous 15 years. Because of its ruinous condition, he decided  to leave the inn. Shortly after,  however, some very necessary renovations took place, and a new façade facing the Amstel River was built as well as a refurbishment of the property’s interior. Artist Pierre Fouquet referred to it as a “Gentlemen’s Inn of Distinction” in his 1783 Atlas.

1838

The Rondeel proved not to be profitable and was auctioned for the sum of 21,800Dutch Guilders,worth €9.900 today. H.J. Wolters, the new owner, renovated the Rondeel again and it was reopened on September 28th, 1845. In the same year he  proposed that “all traveling gentlemen and families” should visit the hotel, which made him a forerunner because most hotels in the Netherlands would only focus on families well after 1880.

1882

The newspapers were awash with  news that H.J. Wolters had sold the premises to R. Kamps and A.J.D. van den Berg. Since the new owners apparently expected a great influx of clientele coming for the World Fair in Amsterdam in 1883, the Amstel River-facing façade was once again renovated and an additional floor was added.

1895

The construction of the new hotel started and it was re-opened on September 23rd, 1896 under the name Hotel de L’Europe. The architect, Mr. W. Hamer, who also designed Hotel Suisse,which has sadly since burned down,in Kalverstraat and the pavilion in Vondelpark, succeeded in incorporating certain elements of the old style of the side façades  into the new building, giving the exterior  a romantic feel. 

The building was founded on approximately 620 piles and comprised of natural stone and red brick in Renaissance style.The new hotel included a large new  that served as a cafe with an outdoor terrace overlooking the river.

The new hotel had 50 guest rooms, a lovely dining room, an event space titled Amstelkamer as well as  a smaller one for intimate dinners called the Muntkamer, named after the century-old Munt Tower across the street from the hotel. It also had a special banquet hall and a reception hall, The Rondeel Room, with a beautiful view of the river. On the top floor, there were several smaller venues. With its elevator, central heating, gas and electricity, the hotel provided all the luxuries and comforts of a real first-class hotel at the time, especially since it also had a bathroom and toilet on every floor.

1910

Two new improvements were made during this year:  a covered entrance and a lobby in Nieuwe Doelenstraat. By that time, the number of rooms had increased to 70.

1970

The restaurant Taveerne was renamed Le Relais. The restaurant’s purpose was to meet the guests’ need for a good, fast  meal if they lacked the time for a languorous, sumptuous meal at the luxurious restaurant Excelsior.

Under the management of Adriaan W. Grandia, appointed director in September, 1980, a large renovation started in the spring of 1981. The idea behind this renovation was that all the improvements would be aimed at maintaining the hotel’s classical style and exclusive atmosphere.

All 76 hotel rooms and three suites were refurbished and appointed a  colour television with remote control, alongside a telephone with direct outside line, minibar, radio and air-conditioning. The new marble bathrooms had hairdryers and a second telephone. Both restaurants, Le Relais and Excelsior, Le Bar, the three banqueting rooms and the lounge were refurbished. In addition to this, a new terrace was built around the hotel. This work was completed in 1984.

1986

Hotel de l’Europe purchased the two adjoining buildings, numbers 6 and 8. These buildings were incorporated into the existing building between January 1986 and Spring 1988. You can still see on all the floors of the hotel that there’s an incline where buildings 4 and 6 join together.

In the new extension 35 rooms, a fitness centre, and new banqueting rooms were added.

1990

The hotel underwent another renovation at the beginning of 1990, which lasted until Easter. During this time, 26 relatively small hotel rooms were altered to create 13 beautiful larger rooms.

1992

The hotel consisted of 100 rooms, two restaurants, a bar, a terrace perched on the banks of  the Amstel, banqueting rooms, a fitness centre and a business centre.

1993 & 1994

Since these major renovations, relatively small renovations had taken place, like the refurbishment of 40 hotel rooms, to ensure  the hotel remained in excellent condition and to the highest standard.

1995 & 1996

The lounge was completely renovated. The hotel invested in several original 19th century paintings, that are now decorating the walls, and in one of the banqueting rooms, the Amstel I, the ceiling was painted in 19th century baroque style.

1996

Hotel de L’Europe celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1996. Itl also appeared on the Institutional Investors list for the first time, an annual list composed by senior financial executives, who decide which  100 hotels are the best in the world. De L’Europe took the  90th spot.

1997

The hotel rose to the 76th place during this year. It also appeared  in Travel & Leisure magazine as the only Dutch hotel in the top 25 hotels of the world with 100 rooms or less.

1998

The kitchen and restaurant Le Relais were renovated. The same year, the bar changed its name from Le Bar to Freddy’s, referring to the owner of the hotel, Alfred ” Freddy” Heineken.

1999

The hotel was awarded the coveted Five Star Diamond Award by The American Academy of Hospitality Sciences, making it  the first and only hotel in Holland to do so. The AAHS is the only international organisation that presents these awards yearly to the most prestigious hotels, restaurants, airlines and cruise companies, for their commitment to outstanding service and hospitality.

2006

The opportunity to purchase three additional neigh boring buildings arose. Nieuwe Doelenstraat 10, 12 and 14 were purchased by Hotel de l’Europe on September 1st 2006. After which, a large renovation took place.

2007

Hotel de l’Europe became the first hotel in Amsterdam to receive a Green Key Gold for its environmentally-friendly hospitality.

2010

Hotel de l’Europe opened an exclusive all-suite wing, known as the Dutch Masters Wing. Replicas of Dutch Masters that can be viewed the nearby Rijksmuseum adorned the walls of all suites in this wing.

2011

Hotel de l’Europe was rebranded as De L’Europe and started with a complete restoration of the main building,  reopening in the spring of 2011.

2019 & 2020

De L’Europe enhanced the design of the hotel, ready for a new era of Original Amsterdam Luxury.