Joseph Roth (1894-1939)

In 1936 the Eden Hotel was housed at this location in Warmoesstraat – why did the Austrian writer Joseph Roth choose to live here? He loved the chimes from the carillon of the nearby Oude Kerk (Old Church). Roth also liked to take a stroll from the hotel to Nieuwmarkt where the oldest Jewish quarter in Amsterdam began and where he felt at home. In the late afternoon the writer would take a boat from his hotel to Damrak where he would start a pub crawl around the journalist cafés like Scheltema and the artist society De Kring on Leidseplein. His walrus moustache and heavy drinking made him a conspicuous presence. Roth was well known in the city’s literary circles and had got on well with other writers, journalists and publishers of German emigrant literature. The owner of the Eden Hotel also had a soft spot for him: he provided free housing for his guest who was chronically plagued by financial troubles. Roth included his Amsterdam lodgings, the owner and other guests in his novel Confession of a murderer. But his stay there ended on a negative note. The hotel’s head receptionist – whom Roth had trusted – stole from him. Disappointed, he left the city and only returned occasionally. The writer died in Paris in May 1939 from the consequences of his dissolute life.


Image: City Archive Amsterdam