Once the headquarters of Volkskrant, a Dutch daily newspaper, the iconic 1960s structure is now home to “the Netherlands’ largest creative breeding ground,” with over 107,639 square feet of office space awarded to artists and small creative businesses. And, of course, to a 172-room hotel, which draws design inspiration from the Volkskrant building's storied past with printing press prints, outsize lettering and pixellated press photos on walls and furniture juxtaposed with urban industrial features (think raw concrete pillars, exposed pipes) and vivid colors.
Volkshotel has a lively night program on weekends, which means you have everything on your doorstep if you don’t feel like leaving the hotel, but it’s perhaps not the right place if you’re planning on having many early nights.
“Nothing is standard, not even our standard rooms,” quips Volkshotel’s website and, indeed, the hotel offers a wide range of hip, simply decorated rooms, from the 129 ft2 “Miss Petite” to the 484 ft2 “Mrs. Massive,” which sleeps up to four. The rooms are cool but basic, with a mod red, black, and gray color scheme. There are also 9 so-called “Special Rooms,” which includes the wacky “White Bike Room,” where you sleep in a big bakfiets (a Dutch bicycle cart) in a room decorated with bikes, and two white bicycles are included in the price of your room. Or perhaps you’d prefer the sleek and sexy “Soixante Neuf,” with its steel-framed bed suspended over a high gloss epoxy floor and big bathtub, set on a stage by the window, overlooking Amsterdam. While you won’t find standard amenities like a minibar, coffee/tea facilities or even a telephone in your room, what does come standard is a shower, safe and hairdryer, and free Wi-Fi.
Some upper floor rooms offer sweeping city views, with built-in window seating
Simple white tiled bathrooms with walk-in showers feature glass-walls with newsprint modesty screens (and a cheeky peephole). And, yes those quirky illustrations on the bathroom products were done by artists in residence in the Volkskrant building.
A large reception desk straddles Werkplaats, with its buzzy lobby bar-café on one side and a co-working space for cool creative types on the other. It’s a lobby you’ll want to hang out in: to relax, meet locals (yes, really!) or get some work done – you can even get a haircut here, or a chair massage (on Fridays).
Ask for an extra map. It’s so cool, you’re going to want to frame it.
No pool, but there are three hot tubs on the roof.
There's a Finnish sauna and three hot tubs on the roof.
Canvas op de 7e, situated in the former journalists' canteen, the 7th-floor restaurant offers contempo-cuisine like kale, sweet potato & avo salad, pulled pork sandwiches and pretty decent bacon-cheeseburgers, with panoramic city views. Weather permitting, the terrace is a must-visit.
On Fridays and Saturdays the restaurant transforms into Club Canvas. Check the website for programming.
Doka is Volkshotel’s late-night cocktail bar (open Thursday-Saturday), “where cocktails are shaken and performers are obscure”.
Located on a busy street in Oost with a metro station right in front (the Canal Belt is only one stop away), you’re surprisingly well situated here. The Amstel River is around the corner and you’re walking distance from the hip De Pijp district, too. Bring your car: there's a private outdoor car park, next to the hotel (€17,50 per 24 hrs), or simply rent a bike and see the city like the locals do.
Popular Eastside eatery Rijsel (3-minute walk) is renowned for its rotisserie chicken and French-Flemish fare, but if you’re more in the mood for burgers and beer, Smokin’ Barrels (9-minute walk) is a must. Spaghetteria Oost (11-minute walk), on the other hand, offers that most elusive of Amsterdam finds: a moreish meal (pasta, obviously) for a palatable price.
Soak up some authentic Amsterdam atmosphere at 127-year-old Café Hesp (7-minute walk), one of the city’s most characteristic brown cafés, with over 20 beers on tap and much more by the bottle. Alternatively, Bar Bukowski (10-minute walk) combines a cool mid-century décor with a great range of local craft beers. If you’d like something a little stronger, head to Henry’s Bar next door.
WHY WE LIKE IT
This brilliant, buzzing artistic breeding ground offers serious value for money.