Our Flat and Brief Description of Homes in Historic Amsterdam

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The historic row homes of Amsterdam are quite the marvelous spectacle. Each one has its own unique way of saying hello to you as you wander the streets.  What’s crazy to think is that each row home have been turned into 4-5 homes over time. Each row home was originally a full house in old Amsterdam.  A row house usually had a shop or storefront on the bottom level and the upper levels were reserved for the actual home. Fun fact: Since citizens were taxed on how wide the front of their houses were, it became extremely popular to construct your house as narrowly as possible in order to minimize taxes. Many homes are 10-15 feet wide but extend up 4-5 floors and back hundred of feet but average around 2500. Each floor is about 400-500 square feet and would access each floor by a very tight spiral-esque staircase.

These stairs don’t come close to meeting U.S. international residential code of building codes but they do utilize space more efficiently. They do not use the stairs when furnishing their house they save that fro their front facing windows. You access each window on every floor from a hook that sticks out over the top of the house. These hooks are where you attach a pulley system to hoist your larger household items and swing them through your window.  Also, they stored everything in the attic due to Amsterdam being below sea level so goods remained dry at the tops of the houses. 

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Now a days these homes are divided up per floor and have been turned into apartments/condos. A 500 square foot flat in the old downtown roughly goes for $550,000 US dollars.  Our flat was on the 4thfloor and had great views out over the tops of Old Amsterdam. The kitchen and bathrooms were definitely designed to use as little space as possible leaving more room for the living space and bedroom.  Total square feet: 450.  We loved every minute of it. 

Will JohnstonComment