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Man stays an entire year for free in Amsterdamís hotels

Homelessness the Dutch way

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

AMSTERDAM - It has been a strange year for trend watcher Vince van Dijk, who packed his suitcase and carted it along each day for an entire year, staying at 350 different hotels in the Dutch capital.

It all began as a hopeless search for the right apartment but turned into a research project with the aim of writing a book about the city's hospitality industry. Once news about his idea travelled ahead of him, hotels and other service providers lined up to sponsor everything from visits to the hairdresser to getting him a laptop.

Hotel managers were delighted with his reviews, even those seen as negative. If he wrote on his blog that a particular hotel spread horse blankets on its beds, it gave them the leverage to go to their investors and demonstrate the need for funds for new duvets.

Van Dijk's project, Amsterdam sleeps, even caught the attention of Brazilian television staying at the Hilton. With 60 million viewers, the program resulted in many extra bookings for the luxury hotel.

His final night of the project was spent free of charge at the Beneluxís most luxurious hotel, where he invited forty friends to share his suite's private cinema and the 500-square metre facility, which would normally cost 12,500 euros a night.

Did he feel somewhat uprooted by the experience? Van Dijk does not think so. After spending a year in hotels he feels better than ever, the trend watcher commented.