Friday, October 11, 2019

John and Yoko's peaceful Dutch 'Love In' remembered 50 years later

Remembering the days of yore, Christene "Cookie" Meyers checks out the John and Yoko suite at Amsterdam Hilton. 


The hotel is a smart, stylish property and the suite pays homage to
the famous couple's peaceful protest there 50 years ago.


"You may say I'm a dreamer,
But I'm not the only one.
I hope someday you'll join us,
And the world will live as one."
-- from 'Imagine', on its 48th anniversary
Stylish architecture and plush amenities are offered
for those who wish to pay $2,000-plus a night.

WE ALL REMEMBER the photos.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono in bed, surrounded by flowers, signs and musical instruments.
It was 1969 and the Vietnam War was raging.
The famous couple staged two week-long Bed-Ins for Peace, one at the Hilton Hotel in Amsterdam and one at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal.
We visited the first hotel on a recent trip to the Netherlands, spending a week in this quiet, peaceful corner of Amsterdam.
"Peaceful" is the key word here for the two hotel visits were intended to be nonviolent protests against wars and experimental tests of new ways to promote peace.
Our host for a tour of the famous suite was the hotel's delightful public relations specialist, Anastasija, who is too young to remember the time in which the non-violent events occurred.
Photographer Eric Koch faked a press card to gain
entrance to the famous "Bed In" and the couple
preferred his photos to others taken that week.
She smiled as she told the stories, though, including comments from journalists covering the event. "They remarked that the two were welcoming to visitors and the press, but that the room began to smell a bit toward the end of the week. As part of the protest, they did not bathe."
The Amsterdam property has enlarged the original John and Yoko room into a small suite which is in high demand at $2,090 a night (1899 Euros). The guestbook boasts signatures of happy couples from Japan to Australia, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom. The couple had recently married in Gibraltar and many honeymooners stay there now.
Bruce Keller and Christene Meyers in the John and Yoko
suite, Amsterdam Hilton, overlooking a lovely canal.
THE BATHROOM  of 50 years ago was not as plush as today's expanded room with its large oval bathtub, separate walk-in shower, plush bathrobes and slippers, plus other VIP amenities.
  The idea for the 1969 event derived from the era's popular "sit ins" when protesters seated themselves in front of or inside an establishment until they were evicted, arrested, or had their demands met.
THERE ARE IRONIES and anecdotes to the famous visit.  The Hilton was not the first choice of the couple, but accepted their reservation knowing that the visit might attract international attention.  "We have certainly benefited from the event," Anastasija commented. And, she agreed, the other Dutch hotel which declined to host the couple has probably had regrets.
A sketch made by the pair is now used in advertising the suite which is tastefully decorated
with John and Yoko memorabilia. Among the nostalgic objects are a copy of one of his guitars, many photographs, sketches and notebooks.
A stroll from the hotel takes the tourist past lovely canals and many bikers.
We loved the location of the hotel, a 10-minute walk from  Holland's fabled Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Vondelpark.
If the couple had been hungry they could have feasted at Roberto's, 
or sipped a cocktail at the Half Moon Lounge, an inviting garden terrace with splendid canal views in a luxurious residential area.
INSTEAD, they ate little and when they did, it was a few spoonsful of cold Campbell's soup.
What did the peace-in teach us? Most believe it had little effect on the war, but its artistic contribution lives on.
Says one scholar of the period, "The idea that sitting in bed for a week might have caused Richard Nixon to revise his foreign policy looks a tad hopeful, to say the least."

London's Eating Europe tour offered a delightful
 mix of tastings from spicy curry to sticky pudding
 and fish and chips served in newspaper.
NEXT UP: Next time in Europe, try a delightful "taste and tour" opportunity.  We just did in London and happily recommend Eating Europe Food Tours now in many European cities.  The innovative concept combines eating and touring -- fine food at several stops with lively, expert guides sharing best-kept food and drink secrets with a learned nod to history. Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us Fridays for a unique view of travel, the arts, nature, family, food and more.


  1. Great work finding this place and celebrating the 50th!

  2. Le Havre EnthusiastsOctober 11, 2019 at 6:59 PM

    Fantastic look back. Made me cry.

  3. Crazy times....wonderful memories. So happy to see this.

  4. Children of the '60sOctober 12, 2019 at 10:15 AM

    Wonderful to enjoy this reverie and revisitation of the days of yore. Giving peace a chance.

  5. Portland PeacemakersOctober 13, 2019 at 2:02 PM

    Fun piece on those innocent days of yesteryear.

  6. Great evocative piece recalling a turbulent time.

  7. Fun memories!Great, original piece.