The story of Lloyd Hotel begins in 1921, when a hotel for emigrants was opened along the Oostelijke Handelskade. Its architect was Evert Breman, who was commissioned by the Royal Dutch Lloyd, the first shipping company to establish an emigrant’s service to South America in the eastern docklands area. Lloyd Hotel was designed to cope with 900 people at a time. The ground floor, with its high ceilings, housed a dining room that could seat 350 guests. In addition there was a shop and a large residents’ lounge. Adjoining was a kosher kitchen, and a room to accommodate 52 Jewish guests. There were separate dormitories for men and women, with family quarters in the side wing, and a small sick bay.
Between 1921 and 1923, a separate Quarantine centre was built at the east side of Lloyd Hotel. Here, immigrants had a first medical examination and their luggage and clothes were decontaminated. It is now a monument which has been turned into artists’ studios and an art gallery café.
When the Royal Dutch Lloyd went bankrupt in 1935, the city of Amsterdam became the owner of the building. In 1939 it was used as a refugee camp for Jewish people. During World War II, from the February Strike of 1941 onwards, the Germans used the Lloyd Hotel as a detention centre. After the war the building continued to be used as a prison. Among the first inmates were the Dutch collaborators with the occupiers. From1964 and 1989 served as a prison for young offenders. The decades of its being used as a prison left its mark on the interior of the building. Until 2001 it functioned as a place for artists to live and work.