Archive for November 9, 2013

How thin is my house!

Traveling around the canals of Amsterdam you soon notice some remarkable houses. The normal canal-side house tends to be very tall and often in the gable you can see a pulley mechanism. The reason for this is that usually the staircases inside are too narrow to enable you to get furniture to the upper floors. So in order to do this, the windows were removable and you hauled the furniture up the outside of your house and then in through the window on the floor where you wanted it. This must have made moving house a very complicated process.

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Some canalside houses with the pulley mechanism in the gable

One of the reasons that Amsterdam canal-side houses tended to be thin and tall was that at the time most were built their equivalent of council tax was based on the canal frontage. It was cheaper to build a house thin and deep and some people took this to the ultimate extreme.

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