Zenden Maastricht: Half a century of sports, swim school and hotel
Zenden sports, swim club and hotel has been around for over 50 years now. Few gyms in the Netherlands provide such a complete sports program as Zenden, Maastricht’s oldest institution in the field. Our sports and swimming school laid the foundation for much more.

Pierre Zenden started his sports school in September 1962 on Capucijnergang in Maastricht. Only two years later the building proved to be too small and the school moved to Hasseltkade, where the program was extended with the precursor of modern fitness classes: gymnastics for men and women. Additionally, we offered lessons in self-defense sports like jiu-jitsu.

In 1969 the building on Hasseltkade proved to be too small as well and the school moved to the first building on Sint Bernardusstraat. On the first floor lessons in judo, jiu-jitsu and gymnastics were given and a sauna was put in place. Meanwhile Pierre Zenden started with the construction of a unique swimming pool in the vaulted basement of the building. “The basement was inaccessible for heavy equipment. Therefore we had to dig the whole pool by hand. A small treadmill was used to transport clay mounds to the ground floor. It took us  a year and a half to complete the construction of the pool.”

Anton Geesink and Toon Hermans
In November 1969, on the wedding day of Pierre and Rina Zenden, Anton Geesink officially opened the new sport school in the historic building. The young family moved into the second floor, which nowadays would be called ‘a loft’. The pool, with its unique 13th century vaulted ceiling, was opened one year later by the famous Dutch entertainer Toon Hermans. In 1972 a second building (the current location of our coffee bar) was added to the school. In this building you could attend aerobics lessons, which back then was called ‘jazz-gymnastics’.

The sports school was regularly used to record television programs. From 1968 to 2004 Pierre worked as a sports reporter for the NOS, the Dutch broadcasting association. For nine consecutive Olympic Games, he reported on four kinds of sports for Dutch television audiences: judo, weight lifting, wrestling and taekwondo. Pierre Zenden’s expertise was sought after at home and abroad. He made four journeys around the world with Anton Geesink (the Dutch Olympic Judo champion) to promote a new judo curriculum, co-developed by Pierre (who is a 6th dan judoka) himself.

Hotel & Studios
Due to the popularity of the crash course ‘Learn to Swim in One Week’, the need for overnight accommodations became apparent. In 1983 the former loft above the sports school was turned into a small hotel. Over the years the hotel was gradually expanded. In 2009, the monumental buildings were transformed by the acclaimed architect Wiel Arets into a controversial design hotel with nine rooms. This transformation was highlighted in numerous (inter)national publications (e.g. in WALLPAPER,  MONOCLE and FRAME magazine). Additionally we received two nominations for best new hospitality interior in 2009 (worldwide) and 2010 (national). In the consecutive years 10 short-stay studios were added to the hotel concept.

Nowadays the hotel and the studios are run by Martijn Zenden. Here you can enjoy the unique Zen(den) atmosphere. Guests who wish to immerse themselves in tranquility and serenity are invited to dive into the pool (located in the 700-year-old medieval vaulted cellar) and attend a yoga class afterwards. With the contrasts between movement and relaxation, old and new, Pierre and Rina Zenden laid a wonderful foundation to further build on the hotel and sports school.