Today, Volendam is a big tourist destination in the Netherlands, situated next to the water and close to Amsterdam. Its traditional fishermen’s town status, full of folklore and historical Dutch costumes, earned it its tourists. But Volendam wasn’t as popular in the late 19th century at all. Townsman Leendert Spaander and his wife Aaltje were in fact the first people to invite ‘tourists’ to their village: the artists. These artists were looking for traditional scenes to paint, and find those in Volendam they did!
As Leendert made friends with the artists, he understood they desired a place to work, sleep and connect with each other. That’s why he offered them his house. When the house became too small for the number of artists, Leendert bought a small pub on the embankment of Volendam and turned it into a hotel. Soon, artists from all over the world came to this hotel, all bringing their own techniques, specialties and practices with them. It was a great artistic meetup space, full of idea exchanges that can be seen on the many paintings still hanging in the hotel today.