Amsterdam through British eyes

Art tour at Art Hotel Spaander in Volendam


Volendam is one of the biggest art villages in Europe, and the main reason is the Art Hotel Spaander. The walls are filled with paintings from artists from all over the world, it is like walking into a museum apart from the fact that the paintings are crammed in to the space to make as much use of the walls as possible. The oldest painting is from 1876, and because of the reputation of the hotel that attracted visitors from all over the place, there is no one defining style. In fact, because they all had such different styles it can definitely be said that the painters influenced each other.

It has attracted many famous people – Renoir included – however, it didn’t start out as a hotel. Originally it was a very small inn with no tables or chairs. They sold Jenever to the local fishermen who would come in, and fill their empty  bottles.


In 1881, the inn was put up for sale, and an enterprising man called Leendert Spaander decided to buy the inn from the owner. He was clearly an art lover, and one of the first paintings that went up had been bought in 1876, and was entitled ‘Artists come in.’



‘Artists, come in’


The portrait in the middle is of Leender Spaander.

Leender Spaander made it known that he would accept payment for a stay in paintings, and so more and more artists came to stay.  One of those was Nico Jungman. While he was staying, Nico receieved an invitation to go to London to sell some of his paintings. Leender Spaander saw the opportunity, and decided to sail him to London himself. He had leaflets made to publicise the hotel, and he took his daughters who were all dressed in traditional Volendam costumes, which proved very successful. Every year, more and more English artists started to appear at the hotel. This is the room they used to paint their models.




Everything in this room is orignal, and it is possible to stay in it – it costs the same as a luxury room, and has a children’s bed built into the wall in the corner.



This painting was done  by a German man called Otto Piels, and many years after his grandson turned up at the hotel looking for it.


This is where the Spaander family ate. Nowadays this room is used for meetings and dinners,


This was painted directly on the wall by Willy Sluiter, who put his own portrait into the painting.


This painting used to be owned by the family of Piet van der Hem, who used to play Sinterklaas. They sold the painting, and assumed it had gone to a wealthy art collector in the USA. In fact, it was sitting in the Art Hotel Spaander when it was rediscovered. Eventually, they made a play about the loss of the painting and the story of how it was found again.


Since 2006, the Art Hotel Spaander has had a residency programme. They invite six different artists to come to the hotel and paint. To honour the tradition created by Spaander, they pay for their stay with their paintings, which are then exhibited in the hotel.

Volendam is a 30 minute drive from Amsterdam, or it is easily reachable by bus, and Art Hotel Spaander room prices start from EUR60 and up, subject to season and availability.

Have you ever been to Art Hotel Spaander? What did you think of it?

Thankyou to Amsterdam Marketing who made my stay at Art Hotel Spaander, and this tour possible. As always, my opinions are my own.


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