Bose–Einstein condensates (BECs) are macroscopic coherent matter waves that have revolutionized quantum science and atomic physics. They are important to quantum simulation1 and sensing2,3, for example, underlying atom interferometers in space4 and ambitious tests of Einstein’s equivalence principle5,6. A long-standing constraint for quantum gas devices has been the need to execute cooling stages time-sequentially, restricting these devices to pulsed operation. Here we demonstrate continuous Bose–Einstein condensation by creating a continuous-wave (CW) condensate of strontium atoms that lasts indefinitely. The coherent matter wave is sustained by amplification through Bose-stimulated gain of atoms from a thermal bath. By steadily replenishing this bath while achieving 1,000 times higher phase-space densities than previous works7,8, we maintain the conditions for condensation. Our experiment is the matter wave analogue of a CW optical laser with fully reflective cavity mirrors. This proof-of-principle demonstration provides a new, hitherto missing piece of atom optics, enabling the construction of continuous coherent-matter-wave devices.