The Thing About Amsterdam

The buildings in Amsterdam are unique. If you ever end up in this quaint, charming city you may feel the houses lining the canals are hovering over you and that feeling would be accurate. Here is why: Residents of the city were very thrifty. To escape the house width tax (that was enacted to reduce crowding along the beautiful canal streets) residents built skinny houses. A few houses were built only five feet wide. Usually the houses widened towards the back, leaving only the front unusually narrow.
There were complications,however, beyond the need to never gain weight. Moving in was nearly impossible. So the ingenious residents simply installed a pulley system at the top of the house. There was still a problem. Lifting large pieces of furniture caused damage to the house and the furniture when the wind blew (which as far as I know is all the time in Amsterdam. I think its from wind currents that develop in the 'cafes'.) The only logical solution: lean the house out towards the street.

Of course. I would love to know how Amsterdammers got granny to her penthouse suite in her wheelchair.

This wonderful history lesson was provided by our wonderful Irish tour guide, Deirdre. Thank you to her and Sandeman's New Europe Free Walking Tour.