150 years Die Port van Cleve

The Discovery

Magnificent that you’re here! If this document reaches you, it gives us the opportunity to tell you that we have a very special story to share with you in the text below. Allow us to take five minutes of your time, because it’s definitely worth reading it. Why? Well what you probably didn't know is that ‘Hotel Die Port van Cleve’ has an astonishing rich history. It’s a place full of amazing old stories, where ‘Die Port van Cleve’ was established on September 5, 1870, which is not by far the beginning. In other words, we are celebrating our 150th anniversary this year and would like to congratulate you as well, for the remarkable good choice for this narrative gem as a residence for your time in Amsterdam.

As mentioned, ‘Die Port van Cleve’ has been founded in the year 1870, but the story takes us much further back in time, to the year 1592. After the death of her husband, widow Weyntgen Elberts successfully proceeds her husband's malt company elsewhere in Amsterdam, after which she decides to take it to the next level. One day she buys a piece of land with a house and a shed, right here on this very location, at the ‘Nieuwzijds Voorburgwal’. Take a look around and realize yourself, this location is beyond special. The shed on the plot would then be used by Mrs. Elberts to start a beer brewery, which she named ‘De Hooiberg’.

Under the guidance of Mrs. Elberts and later her daughter Giert Jansdr, the brewery was experiencing enormous growth, that is accompanied by several expansions of the brewery complex. For these enhancements, a number of adjoined buildings are purchased, including in the year 1627 a house called ‘Huis te Cleef’.

In the following years brewery ‘De Hooiberg’ was managed by either the capable or inadequate hands of a multitude of brewers and entrepreneurs, who sold ‘Hooiberg beer’ with varying success. Although brewery ‘De Hooiberg’ played a major role in the Amsterdam beer landscape for a long time, it had slipped into a questionable position around 1864. However, when things didn’t look too well anymore, the brewery was bought by none other than Gerard Ardiaan Heineken, who, as you might know, would conquer the world with his beer.

The recovered plaque

Huis te Cleeff

From the very first day, Mr. Heineken knew that the brewery would be too small for the enormous plans he had in mind and already in 1868 he started moving the brewery to the ‘Stadhouderskade’. At that time, he agreed with the Hulscher brothers to turn the old brewery into a beer house, and so it was done. For this transformation, two adjoined warehouses were rebuilt, whereby an old plaque was recovered from the house that was added to the plot in the year 1627: The plaque of ‘Huis te Cleeff’. To everyone's great surprise however, the stone contained a completely different inscription than was expected, namely: ‘Die Port van Cleve’. This special plaque was placed above the buffet by the Hulscher brothers and formed the inspiration for the name of the beer house as well: ‘Beer house Die Port van Cleve’.

This plaque can still be admired today above the entrance of the hotel. Before Giert Jansdr bought ‘Huis te Cleeff’ and added it to the brewery complex, Gerrit van Diemen was the resident. Gerrit was a successful skin buyer who also owned a house with the same name in Haarlem. The inspiration for both the illustration on the facing brick, as the naming of the two houses, finds its origin in the so called ‘Spaarnestad’ as well.

Countess of the Netherlands

Margaretha van Kleef

Most likely it was in the second half of the thirteenth century that people started with the construction of a castle in Haarlem, which would later carry the name of ‘Huis ter Kleef’. The name of the castle comes from Margaretha van Kleef, to whom the castle was handed over in the year 1403 and where she died on May 14, 1411. Margaretha van Kleef, Countess of Holland, was born in 1375 and opened her eyes in a town of which the name won’t surprise you, precisely ‘Kleef’ (in German ‘Kleve’).

It’s the year 1092 that this small town gets mentioned in the books for the first time, under the name ‘Cleve’. The name of the city can be traced to the ‘Middle Dutch’ word ‘clef’ or ‘clif’, which means ‘cliff’. As one might expect, the place ‘Kleve’ is located on the slope of the Nederrijnse Heuvelrug, which is a moraine from the ice age. ‘Middle Dutch’ is the precursor of the modern Dutch language, which was spoken between 1200 and 1500 in the current Dutch language area. The Northern Middle Dutch is also called ‘Diets’.

The representation on the plaque as found, is a representation of the old castle in Haarlem, drawn up from the south. This makes it the only known illustration of ‘Huis ter Kleef’ from that side. During the Eighty Years' War, 'Huis ter Kleef' fell into the hands of the Spaniards, who blew it up by order of Duke Alva in July 1573. After the inhabitants of Haarlem mainly used the stones of the ruin to build new houses, only a limited part of ‘Huis ter Kleef’ can be visited today.

So, now you know the story around the first theme we kick off our 150th anniversary with: ‘The Discovery’. It almost goes without saying, but with ‘The Discovery’ we refer to the plaque that was found in the year 1868 and which inspired the Hulscher brothers to name their new beer house after. It is only a small selection of many stories. Most important, thank you for your interest and your choice for our hotel. We hope that you will have a more than pleasant stay, in an establishment that has been around for 150 years. More than a century of cosiness and hospitality.

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