With its heart in the city and facing the green, our iconic, monumental building watches over Oosterpark.
Discover its history here

1886 – 1888

Our building on Mauritskade and ‘s-Gravesandestraat in Amsterdam East, was designed by Catholic architect Andrianus Bleijs.
After starting construction in 1886, the doors of the Sint Elisabeth Gesticht opened two years later in 1888.

1888 – 1944

As a Roman Catholic nursing home, the Sint Elisabeth Gesticht provided care and accommodation for invalid and sick orphan girls.
In the chapel, the girls and nuns gathered daily for their prayers.

1944 – 1945

As the Germans had seized the obstetrics department of the Onze Lieve Vrouwe Gasthuis, the department was moved to the Sint Elisabeth Gesticht during World War II.
Unfortunately, the orphanage also fell into the hands of the Nazis in 1944.
After liberation in 1945, the original residents returned. They had lived near Leidseplein until then.

1945 – 1969

From then on, the nursing home also took in Roman Catholic women who could no longer care for themselves due to illness.
The name of the Sint Elisabeth Gesticht was changed to ‘Huize Elisabeth’ in 1960.

1969 – 1982

After the acquisition of property and lease by Stichting Verpleeghuizen Amsterdam in 1969, the building was refurbished and the chapel converted into a recreation hall.
But by 1982, the nursing home was no longer financially self-sufficient.


The municipality decided to use the building to give shelter to the Dam and Vondelpark sleepers.
In the side wing of the building, squatters could establish themselves, and the rest of the building became a Sleep-Inn.


1982 – 1992

For a few guilders, they and others willing could rent a mattress in the new establishment of the municipal Sleep-Inn.
But due to terminations of municipal subsidies, the Sleep-Inn had to find other sources of income in 92.
Besides overnight stays, it also opened a cafe/restaurant, a performance hall and practice rooms for bands and musicians, and a disco.


In 1992, Paul Hermanides opened an international centre for youth culture and tourism called Arena – an Amsterdam budget hotel with a pop stage, dormitories and a restaurant.


1992 – now

Over the past thirty years, we have grown Arena from a budget hotel to a four-star boutique hotel, with a big heart for culture, art and hospitality.
Read about our hotel’s journey here
View Hotel Arena's Journey