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Houseboats in Amsterdam

Houseboats in Amsterdam

Houseboats are an iconic feature of Amsterdam's canals and waterways. They have become an integral part of the city's landscape and culture. Here's a closer look at the history, types and culture of houseboats in Amsterdam.

History

After the Second World War, there was a shortage of housing in Amsterdam. At the same time, there were many abandoned cargo boats that were no longer in use. These two factors combined, leading people to start converting these boats into homes.

Growing popularity

What began as a necessity soon became a trend. During the 1970s and 1980s, living on houseboats in Amsterdam became increasingly popular.

The city then decided to regulate the houseboats to ensure they met certain safety and sanitation requirements.

Types of houseboats

Converted cargo boats
Many of the original houseboats were old cargo boats that had been converted into homes. They are characterized by their long and narrow structures.

Modern houseboats
With increasing demand, people started building floating homes from scratch. These modern houseboats are often equipped with all modern amenities and can be very luxurious.

Ark boats ('Ark')
These are large, usually two-storey dwellings built on a floating platform. They are fixed and do not move, but they float on water.

Culture and lifestyle

Community: Many houseboat owners in Amsterdam describe a strong sense of community. They help each other with maintenance, share tools and advice, and often organize community events.
Rentals: Due to the popularity of tourism in Amsterdam, some houseboat owners have started renting out their homes to visitors. There are also houseboat hotels, giving tourists a unique experience of the city.

Rules and regulations

Permits: To have a houseboat in the Amsterdam canals, a special permit is required. These permits are limited, and it is not easy to get a new one.
Maintenance: Houseboats must meet certain safety and environmental standards. Owners are responsible for maintaining these standards and can be inspected by the city.

Amsterdam's houseboats are not only picturesque landmarks; they also represent a unique lifestyle and a history of adaptation and community.

House boat museum

For those curious about what it's like to live on a houseboat, there is a houseboat museum ('Woonbootmuseum') in Amsterdam.

Located on Prinsengracht, the museum offers visitors an insight into life on a traditional houseboat. Entry is included with your Amsterdam City Card.

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