If you are a little bit into architecture, design and design history, het Scheepvaartshuis is a place not to be missed. It actually functions as a hotel nowadays, but the staff is very welcoming and invites you to have a look around, even take pictures (only make sure to respect visitors’ privacy).
The building that houses the hotel used to be home of the 16 most powerful shipping companies of the Netherlands at the time. At the beginning of the 20th century the office building was designed by avant-garde artists of the art nouveau movement. It is one of the most compelling examples of Dutch architectural art nouveau, and yet it isn’t a museum, it is still in use – accessible to the public, but a hidden gem. In an abundance of details the building tells a story of sea voyage and maritime myths – like the tattoos of a sailor would tell about his superstitious belief in mermaids and sea monsters – only in wood, glass and marble.
The outside looks a bit like a dark forgotten monster itself, reminiscent of ancient times, full of secrets, like the building that would let you access the underworld of a Lovecraft novel. So one day I decided to go and unravel the secret. And what I found was a pearl of magnificent beauty.