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Surround Yourself with History

This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)

It’s been a household name in Amsterdam for years and the backdrop of several TV-shows: debate centre and event venue Rode Hoed. Due to the special shops you pass as you make your way to the venue, the hustle and bustle of the city and the beautiful location of the building right along the canal; you feel surrounded by culture here. But history as well, because the biggest space of the Rode Hoed, the Oosterhuiszaal, was once the largest clandestine church of the Netherlands. GreaterVenues visited this venue full of stories.

The stately canal building of the Rode Hoed is hard to miss when you cross the water – the large red lettering can be read from afar. The venue was named after a millinery that resided in the property up until 1629. If you look closely, there’s still a little red hat visible in the façade. The debate centre actually consists of three canal buildings that are connected with each other. As a result, there are height differences and small steps everywhere inside, as you so often see in Amsterdam houses. It provides the venue with charm and character.

Reception

When we walk in through the large high doors, we end up right in the spacious and high Foyer. In past times, this is where the carriages and horses of the rich Amsterdam citizens were parked when they visited the clandestiner church. Together with the large Oosterhuiszaal, the Foyer and the adjacent Café, these spaces form the ideal combination for larger events. Guests are received in the Foyer, after which they can have a drink in the Café before the program starts in the Oosterhuiszaal. In the Foyer, a nice buffet can be prepared for the break.

Behind the Foyer lies the showpiece of the Rode Hoed: the monumental Oosterhuiszaal. Many details are reminiscent of the times that this was a clandestine church of the Remonstrants. In the back stands a beautiful organ – still functional and regularly used – with authentic wooden benches for the elders. The hall was built in 1630 in the courtyard between several buildings that the church had bought and it’s made entirely of wood. But thanks to the climate installation, which blows warm air in during winter and cold air in summer, it’s always pleasant and comfortable. The white pillars, red velvet curtains and the two balconies, this space looks like a more cosy and intimate version of Paradiso.

In 1989, poet and theologian Huub Oosterhuis brought new life to the property, which was empty at the time. He founded the Rode Hoed: a centre for religion, meaning and poetry. The Oosterhuiszaal has been the backdrop of numerous Dutch TV-shows. At the same time, the Rode Hoed grew into a leading debate centre.  With an event at the Rode Hoed, you don’t just have a great day or night full of history and culture, but you also support the cultural program of the centre. The Oosterhuiszaaal is often used for conferences, presentations, dinner parties and parties. When the balconies are used, the room has a capacity of up to 450 people.

Own Character

There are five smaller rooms spread around the property that are perfect for meetings, workshops, presentations or breakout sessions. All rooms have recently been completely renovated and redecorated, so they all have their own character. The Groenzaal (Green Hall) on the ground floor, for example, has a homely living room atmosphere with some comfortable chairs and a little bench. There’s also a robust wooden table for meetings and the wallpaper is a work of art in itself – made of fabric with all kinds of extinct animals displayed on it, highlighting the history that the whole building carries with it.

On the first floor we find the Amsterdamzaal (Amsterdam Hall) and the Zwanenzaal (Swan Hall). In the Amsterdamzaal, you’ll immediately be drawn to the high windows through which you have a great view of the canal. A room connected to the Amsterdamzaal is convenient has a high table in it, perfectly suitable for a lunch or to discuss the event. The Zwanenzaal is a bit larger and suitable for presentations or workshops. Eyecatchers here are the two authentic cabinets full of drawers and doors with ‘wedding certificates’, ‘collects’ and ‘accounting’ on it. They were used by the church for years.

Via a few robust wooden stairs we arrive at the balcony of the Oosterhuiszaal on the second floor. Adjacent to this are the Banningzaal and the Vrijburgzaal, which are also often used together or used as a breakout space from the Oosterhuiszaal. The Banningzaal has its own kitchenette and is striking because of the blue walls and special curtains on which a hunting scene is depicted. The Vrijburgzaal exudes peace and elegance and here again the beautiful windows provide a wonderful view.

Full-service

In addition to the historical atmosphere, it’s the level of service that makes the Rode Hoed so attractive as an event venue. The catering, technology, furniture and decoration of an event are all taken care of. The catering department prepares all the – mainly organic – food fresh in the kitchen and likes to help think about the catering. A walking dinner, buffet or a traditional dinner at a long table or several round ones is all possible. In 2017, Red Hat merged with other well-known Dutch venues the Nieuwe Liefde, Felix Meritis and the Compagnietheater, and now operates under the overarching Amerpodia. This offers a plethora of new options. How about a conference in the Compagnietheater, after which you will be taken by boat to Red Hat for a fantastic party?

This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)

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