NileGuide Expert Says:
Amsterdam's Quirkiest House
1012 VC Amsterdam, Netherlands
Old City Centre/New Side
tel: +31 (0)20 551 2512 (Tourist Information)
fax: +31 (0)20 625 2869 (Tourist Information)
NileGuide Expert tip:
Conveniently, the city's narrowest house is located next to the city's widest bridge.
The narrowest house in Amsterdam is approximately 180cm wide, which is actually less than the height of the average Dutch person. Historically, property in Amsterdam was taxed based on the width, which is why many houses are so narrow and deep. To save floor space in these houses, the stairs were made even narrower, but can you imagine getting large pieces of furniture up the stairs? This was rather impossible, which is why most houses have a hook above the very top window; a pulley and rope are attached to this hook, and furniture is hoisted up through the window. But since Amsterdam is a windy city, it would be very likely that furniture would end up in a neighbor's house, which is why the facades of the houses lean forward, to accommodate for the swing; this was done intentionally. However, many of the houses in Amsterdam also lean side to side, which is actually bad. The ground the houses are built on is unstable, and a house that is leaning to the side has shifted and is often sinking.