Dutch courage

Some hotels develop a reputation for exquisite food, class and excellent service. Some hotels gather a reputation, but of quite a different kind.

The Hans Brinker Budget Hotel in Amsterdam is one such den of ill repute, boasting several orgies, an attempted murder and years of misbehaving staff and bad hygiene throughout its 40-year history.

Hans Brinker midlife book
Hans Brinker midlife book

But although the cult hotel has become known for its debauched existence, the advertising campaigns promoting it – by ad agency Kessels Kramer – have attracted just as much attention for their audacious style. From a 25th anniversary poster featuring the 25 spelled in dog turd to a promotional campaign featuring the slogan ‘Now a door in every room’, creative work for the Hans Brinker has always been distinctive.

Hans Brinker midlife book
Hans Brinker midlife book

For the hotel’s 40th anniversary, Kessels Kramer has produced the Hans Brinker Midlife Book, which features many of these campaigns as well as a year-by-year history of the venue, which reads as a potted guide of how not to run a hotel.

Hans Brinker midlife book
Hans Brinker midlife book

Just as with the poster campaigns, the book is brilliantly produced and features black and white (and often sordid) photography from Thomas Mailaender and a chopped-in-half format to match the midlife theme.

Hans Brinker midlife book
Hans Brinker midlife book

Although the classy art direction – by Kessels Kramer’s Didier Rigollet – might not be enough to make you rush to book your stay, it’s another example of how brave creative work can turn heads.

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