Amsterdam’s latest pop-up is the former prison just off the Amstel river. It has become obsolete in 2016 when prisoners were moved to a more modern facility. Since this summer it is the home to a restaurant, studio’s for artists and a hotel. Five of the six towers have become a home for asylumseekers in 2016 and the one remaining tower is now a hotel run by those asylumseekers. They also run the restaurant ‘A beautiful mess’. Since most refugees are from Syria, Iran and Eritrea, the lunch menu is inspired by food from those countries.
In the hotel you can sleep in the former prison cells. They are freshly painted, but kept in tact. The hotel will not lock the door behind you, but the corridors and cells do breathe former prison life. In the adjacent building some left-over cells house a hamam. There the paint is not fresh, but you can still see the scribbles of the former inhabitants on the wall. You can go there Friday through Sunday (Friday is women’s day, Saturday men’s day) until 6pm for a eerie steambath. The treatments are all given by refugees and inspired by Syrian bath rituals.
For a real prisonbreak experience you can book your slot at the Escape Room. Until further notice the pop-up is open until the end of December 2017 and maybe longer.