Life Inside an Amsterdam Houseboat~

Vincent Van Loon was a houseboat owner in Amsterdam who was constantly being questioned by tourists about his houseboat and what life was like for him living on it.

So, in 1997 he decided to open a houseboat in Amsterdam to the public to address this curiosity.
Take a peek inside the Maria Hendrika!

She was built in 1914 to haul materials up and down the canals.

In the 1960’s she was converted to a houseboat where people lived until she was opened to the public for tours in 1997. And yep, that’s me, reflected in the mirror.
Holland houseboats have all the comforts of home as you can see, including heating, kitchens, living rooms, bathrooms, bedrooms and decks which function as garden terraces.
There are approximately 3,050 houseboats in Amsterdam with people living onboard, and 100,000 legally occupied houseboats in all of the Netherlands.

Does life aboard a houseboat appeal to you? If it does, and you want to try out living aboard, there are houseboat bed & breakfasts you can stay in to see if you like the lifestyle.

Cheers to you from a cozy and comfortable Amsterdam houseboat~

288 thoughts on “Life Inside an Amsterdam Houseboat~

    1. Exactly, the ‘rocked at night’ thing works so well for me. It gives me the deepest and most peaceful sleep. We are alike in more than name, but we knew that……

  1. I love the decor, Cindy. So colorful and vibrant. The diamond shaped mirror and the green hearth were details plus large, bold paintings! It reminded me of the miniature doll houses, filled but not “crowded” looking. I am not sure since I have to take ‘dramamine’ even on slow ferry boats, the motion is not easy on my equilibrium. I would visit bur not plan to live there! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Happy Hump day, tomorrow! โ™ก

    1. I understand the motion sensitivity, some of my family members have it too. I notice your eye for detail Robin. You don’t miss anything. And yes, these Dutch artistic themes are utterly charming, and pass down through the generations, making the Netherlands a visually distinct and most pleasing place to vist.

  2. Thanks for this tour – so cool! Love the selfie too. We had a friend who lived in a houseboat and after less than a year left – it was in the northwest US and she said it was too damp!

    1. I think people who live differently have so much to show us in terms of how we live. Like your friend who tried it. Good for her. She’s living and searching. How cool it that?

      1. Yeah- well at the time – her hubs was in school and she was nannying (that means broke dollars wise – ha) and so I guess the boat was free – they now have house with children – and I assume bank account – lol-
        Oh and I saw a lighthouse today that reminded me of Amsterdam –

    1. Ahhh……. Yes! You whose mind thinks like mine. I want to go back and am doing so. It’s great to look at all these working windmills that are x hundred years old, but the people who live in them fascinate me more, and I never met them. So I am going back to see a windmill or six where people live today. Love to you Mandy.

    1. Yes they do. They are limited in Amsterdam, to 3050, or so berths, because Amsterdam is a world treasure and houseboat berths are limited. But a 100,000 or so live “legally” in houseboats all over the Netherlands. I wonder how many live illegally. There are people living very non-standard lives all over the Netherlands. How cool is that?

  3. I think I’d be a little claustrophobic, but with climate change…maybe we’d all better get used to houseboats! It certainly could not be outfitted better.

  4. I’ve never seen such cozy and colorful accommodations aboard a houseboat before Cindy. How fabulous! But, you know which image I think is most awesome? The one which has a reflection of you in it! Nice to see you enjoying your time there! ๐Ÿ™‚ ~Lynn

    1. Oh you are so sweet Lynn! Thank you. I avoid photos of myself, but in the small quarters, if you wanted to see the fireplace, there were no other options. Be well my friend~ <3 <3

  5. I’ve always liked Amsterdam, and much of the rest of Holland. Utrecht is well worth a visit, Rotterdam has those mad cube houses, and Antwerp has its charms. I have a friend who lives on a narrow boat, so I know how it works. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. We were in Holland twice this year on two separate trips. I finally saw the cube houses and the Keukenhof tulip garden. It is always a treat when I see your name in the comments! I hope all is well with you and that you have the very best and happiest New Year! Cheers~

    1. Yes, they had a kitchen area, a fireplace with a teapot and a heating stove. It would be toasty, but not dry furnace heat, in the winter. It seemed to have sleeping accomodation for six people, and an extensive deck and sun roof with plants and tables.

  6. Great photos and it looks gorgeous. I wouldn’t mind trying it for a few days – like the idea of being rocked to sleep at night – but I fear it might become claustrophobic after a while.

  7. Great selfie. It would be fun to just move your home anytime you felt like but alas I get motion sickness so I don’t think it would be the life for me. ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. I hear you about the motion. The selfie was inadvertant.. Someone keeps reposting a photo of me on FB which is highly annoying. I am not a card carrying member of the selfie or twitter movements. Laughing……

      1. It can be a little scary once we post on line how little control we have of where it goes. I’ve noticed that people have found my site from Facebook and my first thought is “but I’m not on Facebook.” I understand the inadvertent selfie. I love taking pictures of puddles but often forget about my reflection.

    1. Oh how perfectly wonderful! I am now following you and am so impressed you are living the dream! Cheers to you and thank you stopping by! I look forward to learming more about your adventures~

  8. Houseboats are so quaint and enchanting, although can be rather chilly and damp in the winter. One of my friends and I nearly bought one when we were in our 20s — albeit, not one as picturesque as those in your pictures — but we changed our minds when warned about the damp and the rats! Of course, I’m sure that Amsterdam is a much more attractive place to hang out in a houseboat than near the gasworks at Shoreham harbour!!!

    1. How cool that you nearly did this! The rats and damp don’t sound too appealing at all. One would need cats to repel the rats. Maybe renting one and touring around Holland in the summer would be the ticket.

  9. Houseboats have always fascinated me. Who would think they could fit so much in that small space? I’d love to visit Amsterdam. I was there years ago but only for a day and I don’t remember much.

    1. I am seeing another trip to Europe in your near future Carrie. It would be a great time for your family and planning is half the fun. I hope you go and post about it. I love traveling vicariously, when I am not traveling actually! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. There is something very intriguing about living aboard one of these vessels – it’s a simpler and I’ll bet fulfilling lifestyle. The quality of materials and how compact everything is perfect, love the idea!

  11. I’ve passed by those houseboats while in Amsterdam in ’86 and have always wondered what hey looked from the inside…so thanks for giving us a virtual tour of one and letting us know we can rent them!

    1. I was tickled to be able to get into one too. It is part of the experience of travel to see how people live in different places. It expands your own palate of possibilities~

  12. I thought that top one was a painting! Beautiful ๐Ÿ™‚ I have a friend that want to retire in Amsterdam and live on a houseboat, I hope she does so I can visit!

  13. What an interesting look into this houseboat! So wonderful to see a different way of life Cindy! I love these photos, they are so vibrant and colorful! Makes me want to go over there and experience this! Hi in the mirror!:)

  14. It does appeal to me. I used to watch MacGyver and for a good part of that show he lived on a houseboat. Also, way back in the late 50s/early 60s, there was Surfside 6, a detective show out of Miami, their offices on a houseboat at that location which I visited once and took a picture of it on our way to the airport. I did have my own sailboat for awhile, a 17-footer with a cabin and 2 berths but in Ottawa, Canada, there are few months of the year that you could live on a boat. I really enjoyed your pictures and it’s something I’d consider doing in Amsterdam. It would make a great base from which to explore the city and surrounding area. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Yes, living on the water has a great deal of appeal, plus you have a moveable home base. Your sailboat sounds like a wonderful memory. We run into people traveling who are sailing the world forever. Love creative peopple who have the courage to live uniquely. I hope you do rent a houseboat or barge boat. You would have a wonderful adventure. Cheers to you and thanks for stopping by~

    1. Japan is on the bucket list as well as Portugal this year! A customs agent once asked me, “Why are you visiting here?”
      I said, “Because it’s beautiful.”
      He replied, “There are lots of beautiful places in the world.”
      I answered, “I know and I want to see them all!” ๐Ÿ˜‰

      1. I better stay in the outskirst of รmsterdam, if I go in I might get the urge to get myself a bit “puff puff the magic dragon” and eventually see other things that are not really there…..

  15. Beautiful photos and houseboat. We have a lot on the river here. I was told once that the 67 non-commercial houseboats were purchased by couples to be permanent accommodation. Now they are all empty apart from 2 where the man alone lives. I wonder if the women had this decor if they would have stuck at it longer?

    1. It maybe something some people do for a discrete period of time, and then move on. Although, I am sure, others, like the man you mention, live permanently. I like the choice and the variety.

  16. Bonsoir
    Mon premier passage sur ton blog
    Vois-tu il y a des jours sur un simple sourire
    On peux rendre la vie plus belle
    Si le mien de sourire peux te faire cet effet
    Alors je reviendrais encore tant faire
    C’est une envie de te faire plaisir et t’offrir du bonheur
    Je t’envoie une grosse envolรฉe de bisous d’amitiรฉ
    Bonne et agrรฉable soirรฉe Bernard

    1. I do remember Matilda and I miss her too. Yes, small is beautiful, and spending time on a boat, traveling around Europe would be wonderful. See comment below for great minds thinking alike. I did not stay in one. But now I did google barge rentals in France…….Laughing!

  17. Oh my goodness what fun! I would definitely give it a try. I loved Amsterdam. It’s such a quaint city. I can’t wait to return one day.

    I loved seeing you (or part of you) reflected in the mirror. What fun! Looks like you’re having a wonderful time.

    1. Amsterdam, all of The Netherlands, is wonderful to visit. We went twice last year! We are home now, I do hope you return, and soon! There is always something new to see and experience~

  18. LIving on a boat has many challenges ( this houseboat looks cozy and like a home), but the best parts would be sunsets and being able to move and wake up in a new place with new adventures just outside…without having to pack!
    Interesting post

  19. The narrow boat that Peggy and I piloted for a week through the canals of northern England gave me a great taste for house boat life, although it wasn’t near as luxurious as the one you are showing here, Cindy. I toured one in Amsterdam that was open for public view as well. โ€“Curt

      1. Yes, Cindy, and tried to persuade WP to give me the address. Anyway: “Life on the Trent and Mersey Canalโ€ฆ A Narrow Boat Tour in England” should get you there. โ€“Curt

  20. BookOfBokeh

    Solely out of a spirit international cooperation, and to show how much I admire the Dutch character, I would be willing to live here if given the chance! ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s gorgeous and well documented!

  21. Lovely post, Cindy. I’ve taken the houseboat tour in Amsterdam and spent a summer living in an apartment there. You make me want to go back again. ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. It’s nice to see a glimpse of you, Cindy, behind the camera of course! I’ve always thought houseboats were the coolest, although I have only seen them in and around Seattle, not in Amsterdam. As a newish RV’er, I guess that makes sense. Great post, thank you!

    1. I love houseboats too. I love being on the water and moving around and getting your own private place. I have only done it in the US in lakes though. I’d love to do it again.

  23. So colorful and cozy. I’d love to spend a couple weeks there– are there Air BnB houseboats??
    Thanks, Cindy, for taking us to Amsterdam– you’ve find the most fascinating side of it all. Love your blog.

  24. I want your [travel] life – thanks for taking me with you in your pictures. I have been meaning to get over here to be SURE you knew that yours is one of those “followed” photo-blogger I was NOT speaking about in a recent Grump.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    -ADD Coach Training Field founder/ADD Coaching co-founder-
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    1. Don’t worry I won’t look. I avoid rants. Wonderful to hear from you Madelyn. I was happy to see a post from you in my reader yesterday as I haven’t seen any for awhile. I think a lot of posts go missing in my reader as I have to go search for people when I realize I haven’t seen a post from them in ages which is concerning.

      1. My Monday Grumpy “rants” are more like ADD/EFD awareness education (with an edge lol) – but I bail too when I run across mean posts.

        It’s simply that the heading “Hatin’ on the SlideShows” was above the heading “NOT Hatin’ on the Photo Bloggers” and I would have been dismayed if you had read down to the first and bailed.

  25. What could I possibly add to the above comments, Cuz ??? Except that I’d love to have one of these to retire to in Florida during the winter months. ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. Pingback: Blogbummel Januar 2016 – 1. Teil |

  27. I don’t like this post, I LOVE it! Amsterdam is perhaps my favorite city and I was so curious about the interiors when we explored the canals. We lived on our boat for eleven years. It was 44 feet long and 14 feet wide (as the widest point), but not nearly as spacious as that one. Yes, I could definitely live aboard one of those!

    However, a motorhome turns out to be a lot less work and money. And we see more of the country.

    1. How wonderful that you lived afloat for 11 years and now you are afield in your motor home. It sounds like an idyllic life! Good for you! Grab life with both hands and shake it!!

  28. Granddaughter and husband, Majors, USAF, plus 4 kiddos ages 5-9 just returned from living in the Netherlands for the past 3 years. I’d love to go back and do the boat B&B thing. We had a B & B 88-2000 on the MD Eastern Shore. You meet some great people & have some who remain friends for a lifetime. Great blog, stumbled on to you via a New Zealand blog.

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