American Hotel

Leidseplein 28
W. Kromhout
August Volmer (American Hotel)
Tram 1-2-5-6-7-10; bus 145-170-171-172-197.
Ida Jager, Willem Kromhout Czn., 1864-1940, p.26-41, Rotterdam 1992.

Monumental hotel with restaurant and cafe-hall

The American Hotel dates from 1900-1902. The yellow brick building is freestanding on three sides. Originally, it had an L-shaped floor plan with wings on Leidseplein. In 1927/1928, G.J. Rutgers added an annex on Leidsekade. Together with H.G. Jansen, Kromhout designed a building with a character all its own, a deliberate alternative to the prevailing ideas about architecture.

The architect based his design on several styles: expressionism can be found in the wrought-iron decorations and tile pictures made to a design by L. Nienhuis, the influence of Islamic architecture is discernible in the facade on Marnixstraat, the facade on Leidsekade is provided with windows with neo-Gothic tracery and on all the facades natural stone has been concealed behind brick walls – a motif derived from Berlage.
Above a tall ground floor containing the party hall and the café-restaurant, are three storeys and the attic storey. The main building, which has a tall saddle roof, stands with its long facade on Leidseplein. This has a rounded corner on the left, above which is a tapering clock tower.
The facade itself is composed of five identical vertical segments, the ground floor is occupied by glazed arches. The ingenious continuation of the motifs over the storeys gives rise to an organic and varied whole. The menu still states: ‘The American Hotel is built in “Jugendstil” or Art Nouveau’. (ARCAM/OD)