Saturday, June 29, 2013

Woonbootmuseum, Amsterdam- Life on a Boat

Canals of Amsterdam, Woonbootmuseum
Amsterdam is known as the Venice of the Netherlands. They have more canals than Venice and not only are they used as roads for transportation but they are also prime real estate. Houseboats are plentiful in Amsterdam and just as popular as apartments.

It's not any cheaper living on a houseboat than living in an apartment. Some houseboats cost just as much as a house and are much smaller. Each one is unique and charming in its own way. The houseboats in Amsterdam have been adapted to modern living standards. They have heat, electricity, and modern plumbing.

If you ever wondered about the ins and outs of a houseboat and what it looks like inside, stop by the Woonbootmuseum in Amsterdam. It is located on Prinsengracht nearby many tourist sites such as the Anne Frank House and Bible Museum.

Entrance to Woonbootmuseum
One of the plusses about the Woonbootmuseum is that there is no line, something almost unheard of in Amsterdam since the lines at the Van Gogh Museum, Old Church, and Anne Frank House are upwards to an hour waittime. The admission fee is just 3.75 Euro.

The museum is self guided. Each patron is handed a laminated floor plan with descriptions of each room.The museum never gets too crowded and there is a little play area for children. The boat is less museum like and has more of a feel like popping into a friend or neighbor’s house.

It’s quite interesting inside and much different than you’d expect. There aren’t conventional bedrooms but two “cupboards” where people climb into to sleep. This boat had one bed for the parents and another for the children. It is a small space almost coffin like measuring about five feet by six by three. I learned that back in the early1900’s people were a lot smaller back then and this space was perfectly adequate.

The houseboat had a decent sized kitchen with plenty of skylights which allowed the natural light to pour in. Onward to the living room, this space was very large and had nice seating, a table, desk, television, and library. The back of the boat led to more rooms, a children’s playroom nook, another sleeping area, bathroom with shower, and storage area. The houseboat was nicely decorated and displayed many dioramas and models of what other houseboats looked like. There was also a video played about houseboat life and a mural on the wall explaining how houseboats float in relation to sea level.

Children's Playroom
Examples of different houseboats.
The Woonbootmuseum is educational and fun. It is amazing how the space is used and I could relate coming from a New York perspective. The deck of the boat was even turned into a garden and patio. Check out the Woonbootmuseum and experience this slice of life of Dutch culture.

Prisengracht 296K
1016 HW Amsterdam

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