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Living on the water: Houseboats
Still there are several hundreds of houseboats in the canals of Amsterdam. Even one of the princes (sons of queen Beatrix) has lived this way for a while. Main reason was shortage of housing as well as a combination with taxpolicies (soil is taxed, water is not). Now-a-days a houseboat also receives a sort of tax and for those who think that living on the water has the missing of many comforts: the boats are connected to the water, gas and electricity networks of town.
Another way of living
This is a typical view along many of the canals: the houseboats.
As there is a shortage of housing in Amsterdam, some people are living on boats. Some boats are really beautiful decorated and have a little garden, others look a little neglected.
Beautiful resident canal boats
In Amsterdam and other cities with extensive canals like here, many thousands of people live in well-maintained houseboats along the waterways. Visitors can either use steps leading from the street or drive a boat right up to the front door! You can look into their windows and see them reading their books, or sunning on their deck.
One can feel like quite a voyeur when cruising down the canals going past the house boats, as it's natural to want to see what's inside, and the residents dont seem to particularly mind people peering in... or else they would've put up a curtain or something would they not? (Jen trying to justify her curiosity ;).. )
The photo here is like a still life painting to me. Very special. Just a cropped still of a day in the life of a house boat resident in Amsterdam.
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Have Barge Will Travel
If I am fortunate enough to be reincarnated as human (very doubtful - it'll probably be as a lawyer) I can think of nothing worse than to be reincarnated as a Dutch bargee. With my home on the canals, meandering and making my living simultaneously, it's almost like being a snail except that you don't actually have to physically carry your home on your back!
Can you be prosecuted for being drunk in charge of a barge?? LOL!
On the canals of Amsterdam there are some 2400 families on houseboats living there, about 750 live within the 17th century canal system of downtown Amsterdam. You will find some stretches with lots of houseboats side by side and other streches that are deliberately kept empty.
Living on the water mainly developed after the second world war when there was a lack of housing on one hand, and a surplus of old cargoships on the other, since the Dutch cargo-fleet was modernized in those days.
In the 60s and 70s it became "in" to live on a houseboat - long live flower power!!! Nowadays it is not the cheapest way of living anymore and the comfort on board leaves hardly anything to wish.
All along the canals you will see the houseboats where people live. They need a special permit from the city to have their boats in the canals. To me it seemed a bit crowded, but I do suppose you get use to it.
The city is small and the population is high comparing the city.the houses are very small and
the biggest ones have 6 m lenght.Housing is a big problem and the river boats seems to be good answer to this problem.In your canal tours you will be in love with this boat houses.
When you wander around Amsterdam you will notice the occasional very narrow house.
Apparently property in Amsterdam was once taxed on frontage - the narrower the house the lower the tax!
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Several thousand Amsterdamers live in house boats along the canals. Most are connected to electricity, but the city does not allow any more due to sanitary concerns.
Floating house, something original I must say. Some of these houses are really well decorated with really nice furinture and some of them have astonishing gardens
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Amsterdam Travel Guide
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