Hotel van Wijk



Hotel van Wijk, one of the early Dutch hotels in Singapore, was established in the late 19th century.1 At the time, hotels were set up to cater to the needs of the growing overseas mercantile communities.2 Hotel van Wijk was located at the hotel belt along Stamford Road – at the junction of Stamford Road and Victoria Street, facing the Stamford Canal – before it ceased operations in 1931 and was later demolished.3
 
History
The history of Hotel van Wijk can be gleaned from the list of hotels in the Singapore and Straits Directory published over the years. First listed in the Singapore and Straits Directory for 1905 with its address at Orchard Road, it appears that Hotel van Wijk was associated with several other hotels, namely Stamford Hotel, Hotel Der Nederlanden and Hotel der Indies.4

Hotel van Wijk probably had its origins in Hotel Der Nederlanden, which was located at 1a, 1b and 1c Orchard Road around 1903.5 When Hotel van Wijk was first listed in the Singapore and Straits Directory, Hotel Der Nederlanden was no longer listed. Both Hotel Der Nederlanden and Hotel van Wijk were owned by Hendrik van Wijk,6 who had established himself as a confectioner and caterer around 1902 and operated his business from 208 and 209 Orchard Road.7

Hotel van Wijk relocated from Orchard Road to Stamford Road in 1906. The former building then became the Singapore School of Music, established by a certain Madame Bassett.8 The Singapore and Straits Directory for 1906 listed Hotel van Wijk’s address as 2 and 3 Stamford Road, while Hotel der Indies was no longer listed.9 It was also in 1906 when Hotel van Wijk Co. Ltd. was formed.10

As its Dutch name suggests, Hotel van Wijk catered mainly to Dutch travellers who were travelling to and from the Dutch East Indies.11 A landmark along Stamford Road, the hotel was also popular with other European travellers who liked its old-world atmosphere.12 Compared to other hotels in the town area, Hotel van Wijk had the feel of a beer garden and resort. Many travellers were attracted to this air of homeliness compared to the lavish surroundings of nearby hotels.13

Among the hotel’s notable guests was renowned writer Somerset Maugham, who enjoyed staying at the hotel when he was travelling in Malaya.14

Hotel van Wijk was also famous for its tiffin curry and draught beer.15

Closure
Hotel van Wijk closed in 1931 due to declining profits and losses.16 Prior to its closure, the hotel’s address was listed as 4 and 6 Stamford Road.17 According to Ray Tyers' Singapore: Then & Now, the hotel was made up of four bungalows.18 

Upon its closure, the four bungalows were acquired by the adjoining Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ) to house St Nicholas Girls’ School, which occupied the buildings from 1933.19 Following World War II, the buildings continued to house Chinese classes for the girls’ school until 1949. In 1950, the buildings were demolished as they were deemed unsafe after the collapse of a room.20 A new three-storey school building was then built on the site to house CHIJ’s English secondary school.21

In 1983, CHIJ moved out of its Victoria Street premises. Some of its buildings, including those that stood on the former hotel grounds, were subsequently demolished.22 The land is now occupied by the headquarters of the Mass Rapid Transit Corporation, while Stamford Canal was covered over to make a wide pedestrian walkway.23



Author

Joshua Chia Yeong Jia



References
1. Liu, G. (c1999). Singapore: A pictorial history 1819–2000. Singapore: Archipelago Press in association with the National Heritage Board, p. 123. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 LIU-[HIS]); Tyers, R. K. (c1993). Ray Tyers' Singapore: Then & now. Singapore: Landmark Books, p. 62. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TYE-[HIS])
2.
Liu, G. (2006). Raffles Hotel. Singapore: Editions Didier Millet, p. 14. (Call no. RSING q915.9570613 LIU-[TRA])
3.
Tyers, R. K. (c1993). Ray Tyers' Singapore: Then & now. Singapore: Landmark Books, p. 62. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TYE-[HIS]); New classrooms for Catholic convent. (1951, March 8). The Singapore Free Press, p. 5. Retrieved from NewpaperSG.
4.
Singapore and Straits directory for 1904 [Microfilm no.: NL 1181]. (1904). Singapore: Printed at the Mission Press, p. 115; Singapore and Straits directory for 1905 [Microfilm no.: NL 8000]. (1905). Singapore: Printed at the Mission Press, p. 115; Singapore and Straits directory for 1906 [Microfilm no.: NL 1182]. (1906). Singapore: Printed at the Mission Press, p. 115.
5.
Singapore and Straits directory for 1904 [Microfilm no.: NL 1181]. (1904). Singapore: Printed at the Mission Press, p. 115.
6.
Singapore and Straits directory for 1905 [Microfilm no.: NL 8000]. (1905). Singapore: Printed at the Mission Press, p. 115; Singapore and Straits directory for 1906 [Microfilm no.: NL 1182]. (1906). Singapore: Printed at the Mission Press, p. 115.
7.
Page 1 Advertisements Column 2: Notice. (1902, November 27). The Straits Times, p. 1; Licensing sessions. (1903, April 8). The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8.
Untitled. (1906, February 16). The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9.
Singapore and Straits directory for 1906 [Microfilm no.: NL 1182]. (1906). Singapore: Printed at the Mission Press, p. 115.
10.
Van Wijk Hotel sold. (1931, September 9). The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11.
Liu, G. (c1999). Singapore: A pictorial history 1819–2000. Singapore: Archipelago Press in association with the National Heritage Board, p. 123. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 LIU-[HIS])
12.
Singaporeana. (1950, September 9). The Straits Times, p. 6; Van Wijk Hotel sold. (1931, September 9). The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13.
Van Wijk Hotel. (1931, September 22). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), p. 20. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14.
Peet, G. L. (1985). Rickshaw reporter. Singapore: Eastern Universities Press, p. 125. (Call no.: RSING 070.924 PEE); Singaporeana. (1950, September 9). The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15.
Liu, G. (2006). Raffles Hotel. Singapore: Editions Didier Millet, p. 87. (Call no. RSING q915.9570613 LIU-[TRA]); Peet, G. L. (1985). Rickshaw reporter. Singapore: Eastern Universities Press, p. 123. (Call no.: RSING 070.924 PEE)
16.
Van Wijk Hotel sold. (1931, September 9). The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17.
The Singapore and Malayan directory for 1931 [Microfilm no.: NL 3174]. (1931). Singapore: Fraser & Neave, p. 69.
18.
Tyers, R. K. (c1993). Ray Tyers' Singapore: Then & now. Singapore: Landmark Books, p. 62. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TYE-[HIS])
19.
Tyers, R. K. (c1993). Ray Tyers' Singapore: Then & now. Singapore: Landmark Books, p. 62. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TYE-[HIS]); Van Wijk Hotel sold. (1931, September 9). The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
20. New classrooms for Catholic convent. (1951, March 8). The Singapore Free Press, p. 5. Retrieved from NewpaperSG.
21.
Peet, G. L. (1985). Rickshaw reporter. Singapore: Eastern Universities Press, p. 125. (Call no.: RSING 070.924 PEE)
22.
Two more landmarks bite the dust. (1984, June 29). The Straits Times, p. 22. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
23.
Yeo, T. (1995, January 5). Postcards that tell S’pore history in a thousand words. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewpaperSG; Dunlop, P. K. G. (2000). Street names of Singapore. Singapore: Who’s Who Pub., p. 291. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 DUN-[HIS])



Further resources
Gilmore, R. (1989, August 21). Set the record straight on hotels and their past. The Straits Times, p. 26. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

Reith, G. M. (1985). Handbook to Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 85.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 REI-[HIS])



The information in this article is valid as at 2007 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.


 

Subject
Architecture and Landscape>>Building Types>>Commercial Buildings
Hotels--Singapore
Hotel van Wijk (Singapore)
Business, finance and industry>>Industry>>Services>>Tourism and hospitality
Commercial buildings