TWO JOURNALIST STARTING A BOUTIQUE HOTEL...
The adventure in the neglected customs building from 1879 began for Karen Hamerlynck and Edwin van der Meijde in the year 2002. That was the moment when they entered the imposing monument on the Stieltjesstraat for the first time at the invitation of Stadsherstel Historisch Rotterdam.
They were mesmerized by the beauty of the property and the possibilities. A small boutique hotel where you can feel the raw romance of the port of Rotterdam – that was the idea. The entrepreneurs wanted to tell this story to everyone who wanted to hear it.
The adventure was certainly not a walk in the park, but in 2007 the renovation could finally begin, which should lead to a new future for the customs office.
It took 14 months to turn the building into a small boutique hotel.
Suite Hotel Pincoffs opened its doors in March 2008, making it the first boutique hotel in Rotterdam.
Since opening on March 1st, 2008, the boutique hotel has regularly received awards. Many guests praised the team, which led to an average rating of 'very good' for the hotel.
2008: Nomination for the Best Hotel Concept in the Netherlands
2010: Rotterdam 'Ketelbinkie Award' for Innovative Entrepreneurship
2011: Sustainability award by Quality Lodgings
2014: Pincoffs: Most conspicuous Horeca Entrepreneurs of South Holland South
2015: Henk de Lugt Award for 'Character Hoteliers'
2017: Dutch Hotel Award semi-final
2021: Gaia Green Award for all sustainable efforts
2010 to present: TripAdvisor's Travelers Choice Award (guest satisfaction)
Initiative: Historic Rotterdam City Recovery
Hotel: Karen Hamerlynck (Ghent) & Edwin van der Meijde (Rotterdam)
Architects: Wessel de Jonge & Miet Vanderbeke - WDJ Architects
Interior styling: Mirjam van der Rijst
Former journalists Karen Hamerlynck and Edwin van der Meijde first set foot in the old customs building in 2002. The couple dreamed of creating a small luxury hotel in a historic building on the water. It took another six years before the doors of their Suite Hotel Pincoffs were officially opened.
Karen Hamerlynck, born in Ghent (Belgium), graduated in 1992 in Amsterdam as a psychologist. She eventually found her future in journalism and worked for the Algemeen Dagblad for 13 years. She met Edwin van der Meijde at the editorial office of the AD. Edwin, born in Rotterdam, worked for the newspaper for 19 years as a journalist and editor-in-chief of various editorial boards.
Edwin and Karen are the proud parents of Fay, Coco and Lotte who were born on one beautiful day in June 2004.
TV-SERIES HOTEL AAN DE MAAS
TV channel RTL4 made a 43-part docu-soap Hotel aan de Maas, which was broadcast on Tuesday evenings. It was The Making of today's Hotel Pincoffs.
The journalist couple and their then three-year-old triplets were followed for almost a year during the renovation of the monumental ruin in Rotterdam. It became a series with a smile and a tear.
Hotel Pincoffs has published an anniversary book called Hotel aan de Maas. It has become a richly illustrated edition of 228 pages full of juicy ankedotes, beautiful interviews, lots of photography and entrepreneurial tips for those who want to start a small hotel or B&B (only in Dutch).
The book is for sale at Bol.com.
WHO WAS LODEWIJK PINCOFFS?
Born: Rotterdam June 7, 1827
Passed away: in New York on September 28, 1911
'A spectacle of so much glory and so much shame - 1827-1911', is written on the plaque near his statue a stone's throw from Suite Hotel Pincoffs in Rotterdam.
Businessman and politician Lodewijk Pincoffs is one of the great Rotterdammers, but his reputation is not unblemished. By implementing his ideas, he ensured that Rotterdam started to implement an ambition that, many decades later, would culminate in the honorary title of 'largest port in the world'.
At Pincoffs' initiative, harbors large enough for steamships were dug. A connection was established with the surroundings of Brabant and Zeeland. Feijenoord, on the other side of the city, was developed into a serious port complex. This became the nursery of the port of Rotterdam, still the largest in Europe.
The Poortgebouw was his boardroom and the current Hotel Pincoffs his customs office where the settlements took place for the traded goods from the very nearby Vrij Entrepot.
Minister of Finance
Lodewijk Pincoffs came from a wealthy Jewish background. He was elected to the Municipal Council in 1856 at the age of 28. Two years later he became a member of the Provincial Council. Though ambitious, Pincoffs twice turned down offers to become Minister of Finance in the Fock cabinet (1868-1871) and the Kappeyne van de Coppello cabinet (1877-1879).
People had great faith in Pincoffs' commercial instincts. He contributed to the establishment of the Rotterdamsche Bank, the Holland-Amerika Line, the Nederlandsch-Indische Gas Maatschappij, the establishment of Heineken's Bierbrouwerijen and many other companies. The refusal to admit him, as a Jew, to the influential society Amicitia was undoubtedly the low point of his life.
In 1873 he founded the Rotterdamsche Handelsvereeniging. The capital amounted to no less than 15 million guilders. This enabled the major harbor works to be set in motion on the undeveloped left bank of the Maas.
Everyone of any rank in the city seemed connected to him. On his way to City Hall, Mayor Van Vollenhoven often knocked on his door to discuss Rotterdam issues. The powerful banker Marten Mees was a close friend of his.
In the 1970s, things in Africa were significantly less good and Pincoffs tried to camouflage his decline with financial tricks. He cheated and hoped for better times. He even managed to convince Prince Hendrik of the Netherlands in 1877 to accept the honorary presidency of the Afrikaansche Handelsvereeniging.
It all turned out to be too late. In May 1879, the Pincoffs empire collapsed. He fled to the United States with his family. Pincoffs was sentenced in absentia to eight years in prison. A sentence he never served, because there was no extradition treaty between the US and the Netherlands. His brother-in-law Kerdijk had to pay the bill with two years in prison.
Pincoffs had not enriched himself, but left behind a million-dollar debt. The municipality of Rotterdam took over the possessions of the Rotterdamsche Handelsvereeniging. Pincoffs properties were auctioned off.
Lodewijk Pincoffs' tobacco and cigar business in New York was not going well too. His journalistic work also failed to get off the ground. Pincoffs died a penniless man.
Historian Paul van der Laar created a portrait of Lodewijk Pincoffs: film RTV Rijnmond