Postcard circa 1970
Amsterdam, Netherlands -- Prinsengracht 315-334

Heralded as the dawn of a new era for the Howard Johnson Company, work began on the Amsterdam property in August of 1968. It was "to be operated by Koluma Hotel Maatschappij N.V., a new corporation formed by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Herbert Pulitzer (Pulitzer, heir to the Pulitzer publishing empire, operated the circa 1966 Miami Beach Motor Lodge, and he is best known for his messy marriage and divorce from "Foxy Roxy").

The project was described thusly:
"The hotel is basically a 5-story structure featuring an inside courtyard with some 2-story levels. It will have 180 guest rooms. The restaurant, seating 140, will occupy two levels within the hotel building."


Howard Johnson's Landmark: July 1968; page 1
Photograph Caption:
"President Howard B. Johnson (seated left) pinpoints Amsterdam on his map of the world for Howard Cummings, corporate executive vice president/operations; Herbert Pulitzer, license operator; Gen. Frederik Kruls, consultant to KLM Royal Dutch Airlines; and Joseph Dryer, co-operator or our first foreign facility."
Note the failure to recognize the Nassau Howard Johnson's as a foreign facility.
Howard Johnson's Landmark: September 1970; page 1
Breakfast menu circa 1970
Brochure circa 1970
Howard Johnson's Landmark: December, 1970; page 1
While the Amsterdam Hotel opened to guests on June 28, 1970, it's grand opening occurred on October 27th. Howard B. Johnson officially opened the location at a ceremony where he placed a brick from New York City in the Hotel's wall. The brick had been a gift from the Holland Society of New York and had been part of the foundation of an original building at the New Amsterdam settlement.


The Amsterdam Howard Johnson's was created and opened with much pomp and circumstance -- meant to impress both the public and well heeled investors. Unfortunately the Howard Johnson Company was ahead of itself. Mired in its Motor Lodge mentality, it was not prepared to be a global player in the hospitality industry.

Moreover, its success was based largely on a model of efficient standardization with strict quality control. Methods had been devised at every level and for every aspect of operation based on standards which importantly included architecture, fixtures, and furnishings. No matter how "nice" the Amsterdam location may have been, it was the complete opposite of a standardized Howard Johnson's! The structure itself consisted of fourteen 2 to 5 story 17th century buildings that had been gutted and reconstructed. The finished project included 176 guest rooms of which no two were alike!

The hallmark of Howard Johnson's was its standardization, an unstandardized HoJo's is hardly one at all. The Amsterdam Hotel ceased using the Howard Johnson name by the second quarter of 1972.