SWEETS HOTEL AMSTERDAM
The idea of Sweets Hotel was created in 2011 as an urban space project initiated by Space & Matter and Suzanne Oxenaar, Otto Nan and Gerrit Groen (founders of the Lloyd Hotel and the cool pop up Llove Hotel in Tokyo). In a time where almost everything is being automated, the function of the bridge controller disappeared and the bridge control houses became empty. Seven years later, 28 of these bridge houses have been turned into ‘sweets’, tiny houses. Where you can spend the night on the water next to the bridge.
The 28 bridge control houses are divided into six categories. All standing for a certain period of time where the building style, material and how they are connected to the bridge differs. For example, there are houses in the style of the Amsterdamse School, but also those that represent ‘Het Nieuwe Bouwen’. There is a book available that gives more information about each house, the idea of the architect and all of the locations (because even if you don’t sleep in one of them, it is quite nice to take a bike ride along all the houses and learn more of them).
I tried one of them and that’s the on the Theophile de Bock Bridge. I fell for the architecture, the materials and the use of color. This bridge is located on a great location: if you cross the bridge you will be in the Vondelpark and the neighborhood where the house is located, is a quiet residential area. Checking in goes via an app. Before your visit you provide the hotel with all of your information, the hotel lets you know when the room is available via the same app and your phones then works as a key to open the door.
Inside it is small, but super inventive. Since we, people living in big cities where the houses become more and more expensive, live smaller, a visit to a tiny house always inspires (see also for example my visit to the Vipp Shelter of 45m2 in Sweden or the two fishing huts Cabanas no Rio in Portugal). Inside you’ll find a table with two chairs, a sink, a double bed, bookcase and there is a toilet with shower. No five-star luxury and design; the charm is all about the experience.
The new bridge controller
And the experience is very special. When I arrived for maybe half an hour, a boat arrives. In no time, a boy shows up on his bike to open the bridge: not all of them are being operated automatically I realize. I stand in front of the window and watch how the barriers close, the bridge opens and the huge boat passes. Of course I am in sight: when the bridge closes again, I see people looking at me from their bikes. Probably thinking: is she the new bridge controller? 😉
On the water
You also hear everything: from the barriers that close up to the ducks in the water. You are basically on the water and right next to the bridge (there are earplugs for people who are extra sensitive). Someone asked me on Instagram whether the bridge also opens and closes at night. In my case not: last time was at eight o’clock in the evening.
Other bridge houses
During the day I went to see more bridge control houses. For example to those on the Walter Suskind Bridge, a small white house with a view over the Amstel. There is also one, at the Amstelschutsluis, where you can only get by boat, so you will be dropped off in Venice style. And then there is the Hortus Bridge, which I find really beautiful. Also a design by Dirk Sterenberg, right next to Hortus Botanicus. The interior of that on the Nieuwe Amstelbrug looks cool: completely made of wood with a green chair by Dirk van der Kooij.
Check out: www.sweetshotel.amsterdam