Adaptive reuse of a former monastery for hospitality purposes. It serves as a hotel and a neighbourhood meeting centre with an educational and social mission.
- The reason for redevelopment of the monastery is linked to the increasing secularization. Since much of (former) religious buildings can be a burden on a city and space is limited within the urban environment, the municipality looked at the possibility to maintain the building, while repurposing it to current needs. By accommodating a hotel in the building, combined with a restaurant focussed on sustainable dishes, the monastery was reintegrated in the urban fabric and transformed a closed-off area of the neighbourhood to a social hub for locals and guests alike.
- The (former) closed-off environment of the monastery has been opened to the public, creating a pull-factor to its direct surroundings.
- Every year, 20 jobseekers - from 16 to 26 years old and in a difficult starting situation - are given the opportunity to discover and develop their talents. They will work in the hotel and will be given the opportunity to orientate themselves in various fields in the hotel industry. Under the guidance of socially involved professionals, they gain practical experience and professional skills and develop a professional attitude. The Soete Moeder team is designed to guide and instruct young people in three facets of the catering trade: cook, host / hostess and facility employee. The goal of the foundation is to ensure that the young people, at the end of the learning process, are ready to start, in a job or training.

Resources needed

The building cost has not been disclosed. The operation of the hotel is profitable. In 2019 about €200,00 profit was made, which flows back into the foundation.

Evidence of success

Adaptive (re)development of a former monastery, with a long-term economic viability as well as integrating (and opening) the religious heritage in both urban fabric and society itself (hospitality and educational functions).
Every year 20 jobseekers are guided and encouraged, to help them learn a profession and find a job.

Difficulties encountered

Budget and commitment issues resulted in a huge delay of the project. The original aim was to op the Hotel in 2011. The actual opening was in 2016.

Potential for learning or transfer

1. Repurposing religious heritage for hospitality purposes
2. Restoring built and landscape heritage values (such as the edible garden)
3. Opening a former closed-off area of the city for exploitation through (heritage) tourism
4. Using intangible heritage (the mission of the nuns) as part of the exploitation model (education for those with difficulties finding a job)

The project focusses on urban rejuvenation through repurposing a former religious building to fit the current needs for (increased) hospitality. By having both ownership and exploitation done by a private party, the financial risks are mitigated, while safeguarding the (visible) heritage values of the cityscape and reintegrating the building in the built environment. This type of redevelopment of oblique religious heritage can be exported, both locally and in the Netherlands, as well as worldwide. The only issue with transferring this aspect is the different ways religion and religious heritage is viewed elsewhere.

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Main institution
Municipality of 's-Hertogenbosch
Noord-Brabant, Netherlands (Nederland)
Start Date
January 2012
End Date
December 2016


Marieke  Muilwijk Please login to contact the author.