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Generator Hostel Amsterdam

Generator Amsterdam, the brand’s 10th location, Generator has upped its game, offering overnight guests and locals alike a new level of hostel experience and open its doors on 16th March 2016. located in the up-and-coming eastern side of the city overlooking Oosterpark. This former zoological university building can accommodate 564 guests in 168 twin and quadruple rooms with incredible views on the surrounding and en-suite bathrooms.

Generator-Hostel-Amsterdam-By-DesignAgency-02-Nikolas-Koenig-759x500 Generator Hostel Amsterdam / DesignAgency

© Nikolas Koenig

The hyper-trendy East Amsterdam neighborhood just became even more in vogue with the addition of Generator’s most ambitious property to date, adjacent to the popular and newly renovated Oosterpark. Located in Mauritskade 57, a historical brick building built in 1908 as the University of Amsterdam’s science department, the property is the only upscale hostel in the city.

Generator-Hostel-Amsterdam-By-DesignAgency-05-Nikolas-Koenig-759x569 Generator Hostel Amsterdam / DesignAgency

© Nikolas Koenig

Inspired by the building’s history and park-side location, Generator maintained the lecture hall and science lab aesthetics while modernizing the spaces with playful graphics and pops of colour to create a labyrinth of sprawling amenities, and in true Generator form, no shortage of hang-out spots. The core social space, Nescio, named after a famous Dutch writer, includes:

The property’s café, open daily for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner, provides grab and go items, and a range of locally-sourced dishes.

The Auditorium, open day and night as a laid-back lounge, features the original lecture-style seating and a professor’s desk repurposed as a central bar with gas taps and reclaimed laboratory beakers.

The Library, an intimate space to unwind, retains its original wood heritage elements that pay homage to its initial function and includes walls shelved with bright orange books.

Generator-Hostel-Amsterdam-By-DesignAgency-07-Nikolas-Koenig-749x1000 Generator Hostel Amsterdam / DesignAgency

© Nikolas Koenig

“Our central ethos for Generator Amsterdam is one of embracing the multiple layers of the building and its historical nature; the reveal to guests and visitors will be languid, mysterious, and multi-faceted as people explore and discover all of the hidden layers & surprises Generator Amsterdam has to offer. Around every twist and turn there is another moment to experience as the story of our lovely property unfolds. With the building originally a school dedicated to the study of the natural sciences, Generator will carry this classic, nature based ethos forward in its design and programming of the spaces. A deep respect for the classic nature of the building resonates in everything we intend to do, and we are excited to experiment and engage with our newest chapter to the Generator story.” – Josh Wyatt from Patrol Capital, the founding company of Generator

Generator-Hostel-Amsterdam-By-DesignAgency-08-Nikolas-Koenig-759x506 Generator Hostel Amsterdam / DesignAgency

© Nikolas Koenig

Generator Hostels feature design-focused micro-chic guest rooms, local flare, and vibrant social spaces that reflect each location’s city aesthetics and culture. At Generator, travelers enjoy the best social experience of a hostel, in central locations at affordable rates, as well as comfortable accommodations including suites, standard private rooms, and shared hostel lodging. As Europe’s fastest growing hostel brand, Generator currently has over 8,600 beds located in the hippest areas of Dublin, London, Copenhagen, Berlin, Hamburg, Venice, Barcelona, Paris, Amsterdam, Stockholm and Rome.

Generator-Hostel-Amsterdam-By-DesignAgency-10-Nikolas-Koenig-759x568 Generator Hostel Amsterdam / DesignAgency

© Nikolas Koenig


A gateway to Amsterdam’s beautiful Oosterpark, Generator Amsterdam opens its doors to surroundings that include exotic birds, ancient willow trees and a whimsical children’s playground, as well as the Oost neighbourhood, the city’s hottest new destination for art, fashion and independent shops bars and restaurants.

Generator’s global design partner, DesignAgency has collaborated with local architects IDEA Ontwerp to both convert and restore a former health sciences building and zoological museum, and breathe new life into the hundred-year-old brick structure, establishing the most impressive Generator to date.

Generator-Hostel-Amsterdam-By-DesignAgency-12-Nikolas-Koenig-759x598 Generator Hostel Amsterdam / DesignAgency

© Nikolas Koenig

The 168-room hostel follows Generator’s trendsetting concept of great design and an array of spaces that encourage social interaction — all at an affordable price. Many of the building’s original, heritage-designated spaces have been preserved and overlaid with contemporary twists. The design confidently mixes the history and charm of the building with Dutch references from folk culture and iconic design, as well as custom contemporary art and the playful lighting that is synonymous with the Generator brand. Partnerships with local businesses such as local coffee vendor Stooker Roasting Company and Vanmoof Bicycles make the project stronger and more successfully integrated into its surroundings.

Generator-Hostel-Amsterdam-By-DesignAgency-15-Nikolas-Koenig-800x1200 Generator Hostel Amsterdam / DesignAgency

© Nikolas Koenig

The partnership with various Dutch artists and designers in particular helped to drive the project to new creative heights. Blom & Blom collected, restored and redesigned hundreds of light fixtures, many from abandoned factories in East Germany, each of which riffs on the building’s new-old duality. Dutch-French muralist and graphic artist Pieter Ceizer painted witty slogans on the inside of the elevator shaft that upend the otherwise mundane experience of travelling between floors. His idea to do so inspired DesignAgency to install glass panes in the elevator cars. Amsterdam’s The Bright Side Gallery coordinated a team of additional artists, including Kamp Horst, Graphic Surgery, Hans van Bentem and Gino Bud Hoiting. Their sculptures, drawings and graphic interventions give each of their respective spaces strong visual identities, unique personalities and above all conversation starters.

Generator-Hostel-Amsterdam-By-DesignAgency-17-Nikolas-Koenig-759x569 Generator Hostel Amsterdam / DesignAgency

© Nikolas Koenig

According to DesignAgency principal, Anwar Mekhayech, “Generator Amsterdam grew from a process of getting to know the city, meeting people and discovering its existing hotel scene and lifestyle brands. We also explored the opportunities and limitations of the amazing historic building. More so than ever, collaborations with artists and locals were essential in helping us bring our aspirations to life. We hope that the joy and authenticity of this creative process will touch guests and locals, inspiring them to make their own Amsterdam discoveries.”

By day, the modern architectural addition, seen here from the Oosterpark side, recedes, becoming almost invisible. By night, the rooms softly glow like a beacon, signaling the property’s newfound energy, vitality and wit.

Generator-Hostel-Amsterdam-By-DesignAgency-23-Nikolas-Koenig-759x507 Generator Hostel Amsterdam / DesignAgency

© Nikolas Koenig

From the park entrance, both overnight and casual guests are encouraged to enter and explore via the original marble staircase and stained glass transom. They are greeted by ceramic-and-wood totems by local Dutch artist Hans van Bentem.

The design team restored original features such as the intricate interior brickwork, stained glass windows and terrazzo floors, then layered in lighting by Blom & Blom and contemporary elements such as Alt Deutsch wallpaper by Studio Job.

Generator-Hostel-Amsterdam-By-DesignAgency-27-Nikolas-Koenig-759x575 Generator Hostel Amsterdam / DesignAgency

© Nikolas Koenig

In the Nescio Café, abstracted frames of houses provide intimacy while also nodding to the locale’s proud architectural history. The herringbone floor tiles by 41zero42, rendered in vibrant colours, reference aerial views of tulip fields.

Inspired by the perennial pleasures of the out-of-doors, the early morning to late night café is a delightfully breezy space that opens to a park-side terrace. The bar area is completely constructed from the versatile Dutch tile system, Dtile.

Generator-Hostel-Amsterdam-By-DesignAgency-31-Nikolas-Koenig-759x506 Generator Hostel Amsterdam / DesignAgency

© Nikolas Koenig

At the apex of the building, the auditorium bar features preserved raked seating adorned with reading lamps and drinks trays. The auditorium’s original curtains were restored and returned to the space and their hues inspired the colours for the lounge furniture. In place of the lectern, a generous bar is presided over by the beer taps and a gleaming espresso machine. Its chalkboard backdrop presents the drinks menu, and raises to display the liquor bottles. Overhead, a signature chandelier by Blom & Blom dangles scientific flasks repurposed from the building.

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© Nikolas Koenig

Each room is accented by a Studio Job wallpaper feature wall. Premium private rooms feature blanket designs by local textile designer Mae Engelgeer, while grey and brass Anglepoise bedside lamps warm up the custom headboards.

Guest rooms are basic but comfortable, encouraging guests to take advantage of the shared social spaces. Each room is defined by its Studio Job wallpaper. Typical furnishings include W Chairs by Billiani and Offcut Stools by Tom Dixon, (a Generator staple) as well as Anglepoise lighting and Dtiled bathrooms.

Generator-Hostel-Amsterdam-By-DesignAgency-37-Nikolas-Koenig-759x569 Generator Hostel Amsterdam / DesignAgency

© Nikolas Koenig

Project Data:

Project name: Generator
Location: Mauritskade 57, 1092 AD, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Coordinates: 52.360832, 4.918877
Type: Hostel Interior
Accommodations/Hotel Size: 564 guests in 168 twin and quadruple rooms
Project Area: n/a
Status: Completed
Completion Date/Year: 2016
Opening Date: 16th March 2016
Visit Generator Hostel Amsterdam’s website: here


  • 2016 – The European Hotel Design Awards – Category: Interior Design Awards / Lobby, Lounge & Public Areas – Finalist
  • 2016 – International Interior Design Awards (FX Awards) – Category: Hotel – Shortlist

The people:

Client / Owner / Developer: Generator Hostels
Interior Designer: DesignAgency – 845 Adelaide Street West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M6J 3X1
Text Description: © Courtesy of DesignAgency, Generator
Images: © Nikolas Koenig

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Generator Hostel Amsterdam / DesignAgency
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