Living off the Land, Literally; Houseboats and Floating Homes.

The houseboat culture of Amsterdam was one of the most interesting ways that the Dutch have used their unique geography to their advantage.  In Toronto there are houseboat communities near the Scarborough Bluffs and the Toronto Islands.  I have always dreamed of living on a houseboat ( as impractical as it may seem) and seeing the thriving community of boat dwellers in Amsterdam and the floating house inhabitants of Ijberg gave me hope that someday this could be more than a dream.  As discussed by our Canal tour guide living on the water has been part of the Netherlands history for over a hundred years.  Originally the boats were used to ship goods between port cities, but as they were decommissioned people began to transform them into small livable spaces with all the modern conveniences of a traditional home, another example of Dutch ingenuity.  The booming popularity of life on the water led the city to enact a permit policy limiting the amount of mooring boats in an effort to protect the infrastructure of the canals.  Called ‘ligplaats’,  only the existing owners are able to sell or transfer permits as new ones are no longer issued.  The limiting of permits is an effort by the local government to maintain the structural and cultural integrity of the canals. Many ligpaat holders choose to rent out their boats through online sites such as AirBnb as a way to profit from their exclusive status. 

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a typical Amsterdam house boat.
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A map of available house boat rentals in Amsterdam.                 Source: airbnb.ca
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It’s currently available: book now!
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Houseboat dwellers make the most of their small spaces.
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