Art & Literature
Collections of the Ambassade Hotel
“Cobra stole my heart… and, as always with the big loves of your life, it came like a bolt out of the blue. Suddenly, my breath was taken away by the sight of all these amazing things: the colours, the freedom, the playfulness, the unconventional, the experiment, the intuitive… I hardly knew where to look next. It was overwhelming – all those hundreds of artworks in countless variations. Oil paintings, work on paper, sculptures of all types and sizes that dripped with passion… in forty years they had lost none of their power, on the contrary. I stood there rooted to the spot and had goosebumps all over.
That moment of amazement was at an exhibition in De Nieuwe Kerk, Dam Square in 1988, I was so inspired by all those art-pieces; at that moment Cobra gained my very interest. I am grateful that our Ambassade Hotel Collection, including our signed books (over 5.000) and guest books, has found such a beautiful location on Amsterdam’s Herengracht and Singel, which is now accessible to a wide audience.”
Columns in ‘Het Parool’
What is a writers hotel without writers? A pen without ink?
For a period of six months, a different author is invited to stay at the Ambassade Hotel for two nights every week. The author will write a column about their experience of being a writer in this era. The columns will be published weekly in the Dutch newspaper ‘Het Parool’.
Seized by the expression, the management of the Ambassade Hotel started with the collection of Cobra art in late 2001. At the time of writing the collection contains more than 800 works of art. The goal is to allow the collection to grow into a comprehensive and complete overview of Cobra; a unique, post-war art movement with members throughout Europe, including Asger Jorn, Pierre Alechinsky and Karel Appel. In addition, the Ambassade Hotel owns some late 19th-century works by leading figures from the Amsterdam Impressionists movement: Isaac Israëls and George Hendrik Breitner.
In the Library Bar you will find a unique collection of signed books by authors who have all stayed at the Ambassade Hotel: more than 5000 of them.
The Ambassade Hotel has traditionally maintained close links with publishers in Amsterdam and the surrounding areas. Many of these publishing houses, as well as some of Amsterdam’s best-known bookshops and authors’ cafés, are located within walking distance of the Ambassade Hotel.
Although authors have long been staying at the Ambassade Hotel, the aforementioned collection of signed books was not started until the year 1986. The Ambassade Hotel owes this interesting collection to the fact that Dutch publishers generally book their foreign authors into the Ambassade Hotel for the launch of the Dutch translation of their books.
The Literaire Salon
Since 2016, the Ambassade Hotel has been organizing the Literaire Salon @ Ambassade Hotel on a monthly basis, in collaboration with producer and media-artist Babeth M. VanLoo. A journalist or writer holds a one-hour dialogue with an author about a book, oeuvre or a (topical) theme, after which there is the opportunity for the audience to ask questions. Every edition of the Literary Salon is followed by a festive drink and a signing session by the author.
Previous guests include Dick Swaab, Judith Herzberg, Remco Campert, Annejet van der Zijl, Murat Isik, Arnon Grunberg, Tommy Wieringa, Connie Palmen, Abdelkader Benali, Jan Siebelink, Femke Halsema, David Sedaris and Tom Lanoye.
Please bear in mind that the Salons are generally held in Dutch.
Twice a year de Muzikale Salon is organized. This is alternately provided by violinist Svenja Staats and string orchestra Amsterdam Sinfonietta.