Prison turned hotel helps refugees integrate into Dutch society

Prison turned hotel helps refugees integrate into Dutch society

The former Bijlmerbajes prison in the east of Amsterdam, which was in use until June of last year, has been transformed into a pop-up hotel run by asylum seekers, helping them to reintegrate into society through job training.

The Movement Hotel

This unique project allows professionals and asylum seekers to work together in running a hotel, allowing refugees to gain work experience, and also giving visitors an opportunity to see the Bijlmerbajes one last time before it is demolished. Guests can also book a tour with a former security guard to learn more about the renowned former prison.

Currently, around 600 refugees live at the prison and they are eager to integrate into society. Employment is an effective way to achieve this.

Former Dutch prison facilities

Those staying at the hotel do not need to worry about the rooms or hotel itself feeling like an actual prison. The hotel has been kitted out and offers double rooms, meeting rooms, group bookings, an on-site restaurant and bar, and a recreational area, as well as the basic amenities you would expect at a hotel.

Other organisations also offer activities in the building such as an escape room challenge, language learning get-togethers, boxing and performances for guests to enjoy. Booking a room at the hotel is simple, as the available rooms are listed on

Recycled Dutch prisons

The Bijlmerbajes is not the only prison that has undergone a metamorphosis; a prison boat from Amsterdam was bought in a public sale by the Good Hospitality Group and transformed into a floating hotel. The boat had not been used as a prison since 2012. 

The Good Hotel was launched in Amsterdam for a year in 2015, before making its journey to London in late 2016. 

Future of the Bijlmerbajes

The ground on which the prison stands has been bought by the developer AM, a daughter company of construction company BAM, for more than 84 million euros. For this project, AM will work together with the investor AT Capital and designer OMA, amongst others.

They plan on knocking down five of the six towers and building a "green" city district with 1.350 residences. Around 98 percent of the materials present in the prison will be re-used and the buildings will be completely energy-neutral. 

In order to achieve energy-neutral status, the buildings will incorporate solar panels and wind turbines. The last standing tower will be transformed into a "green" tower and will feature a park and a place for urban agriculture. 

The construction is set to begin in 2019, and in 2021 the first people will be able to live in the new "Bajes" district. 

Mina Solanki


Mina Solanki

Completed her Master's degree at the University of Groningen and worked as a translator before joining IamExpat. She loves to read and has a particular interest in Greek mythology. In...

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