Friday, January 21, 2011

Houseboat on Amsterdam Canal


2400 families live on canal boats in Amsterdam today.  For an authentic Dutch experience visitors should try renting a houseboat for a night or two.

 The trend of living on houseboats began soon after the 2nd World War when accommodation was at a premium and the boats presented an interesting alternative. Altogether there are about 750 houseboats of unusual variety moored on Amsterdam's downtown canals. Built in the 17th century these watery roadways throughout the city are part of what makes Amsterdam unique.

Living on the water is not a deterrent to gardeners. A stroll along any canal will show that the bow and stern of the boats are utilized for container gardens and the ramp leading across to the boat will often have an arbour with creepers and a row of small trees in tubs or containers alongside the dock.

Birds sometimes visit. We came upon a gray heron on the flat roof of one of the boats. My husband James swore that it was stuffed and a mere ornament. I watched for longer and discovered it was indeed alive. After a minute or so the heron fluffed out his feathers, strutted back and forth on long spindly legs and finally took off.

Photos copyright Anne Gordon

Posted by Anne Gordon on Friday, 21st January, 2011


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