Houseboats in Amsterdam
Most of Amsterdam’s world-renowned canals are flanked on either side by over 2,500 houseboats. Discover why some of the city’s inhabitants prefer to live on these barges.
This unique accommodation became popular after World War II due to the lack of undamaged houses in Amsterdam. Moreover, the Dutch fleet was modernized, and hundreds of canal cargo ships were renovated and transformed into accommodation.
In the first decades, the barges were lived in by hippies until they became popular throughout the population.
How much is a houseboat?
The prices of the barges are less expensive than a traditional house but are more expensive to maintain. Every three or four years, the owners must inspect their boathouses in the nearest shipyard, which normally takes up to one week.
Apart from the maintenance expenses, the owners must also pay a parking permit, taxes and an insurance that is often more expensive than a normal house.
No more permits released
Nowadays, the canals are completely collapsed, and no more parking permits are released. The only option available is to buy a boathouse that already has a “ligplaats” (a space rented on the canal).
If you’ve never been in a houseboat before and are curious to see how they are, you can visit the Houseboat Museum, a barge transformed into a house until 1997.
Wander around its large living room, discover its small kitchen or check out the tiny beds where the owners once slept on. At the entrance of the museum, you can pick up a brochure in English that explains the history of these houseboats in Amsterdam.