Friday, October 25, 2013

Holidays 2013, Netherlands and Belgium pt 3: More Amsterdam

A few things I noticed that are very different in Amsterdam are the number of bicycles everywhere and I mean everywhere! They even have special bike lanes for them! As well as multi story bicycle 'parking spots'!

The masses of parked bicycles near Amsterdam's central station:

I also noticed a few places where people could recharge their electric cars:

The older homes are very tall and narrow. A tour guide advised (and I recalled reading about it as well), that it was because the dutch were taxed on how wide their homes were, so they cheekily built them up to avoid paying taxes! the result is that the stairs are very step and narrow! I almost fell backwards when I was trying to lug my suitcase weighing 20kgs up the flight of stairs to my rented apartment! In fact I almost fell down those stairs on a few occasions in my one week there and no I wasn't drunk! In fact I don't think I had an alcoholic drink till at least the forth day of my holidays! Anyway, back to narrow stairs, because of the difficulty of lugging things up them, the Dutch have a beam which extends off the roof over the street with a pulley system, so that they can haul items up and into their homes!

As I was walking past one house, I was fortunate to see a man using the pulley system to haul something up and into his home:

Unfortunately the photographs I took of the narrow and deep stairs leading to my apartment, didn't really work out well... Anyway this photo of a home near where I was staying, gives you a bit of an idea and let me point out the depth of these steps are very generous!:

Because homes generally were right on the street, or footpath, as well as the general lack of space for gardens etc, It was quite normal to see homes growing a climbing plant/s out of tiny gaps in the ground. It was also not uncommon for then to run up between two homes:

Something a little more elaborate was this home near Vondelpark:

Often you walked past homes with bright flowers hanging from balcony's and window sills:

It wasn't unusual to also see flowers decorating the canal bridges. Also note the bicycle chained up to the bridge. I can't recall seeing many places where bicycles weren't chained up. The above photo of flowers on the balcony of a house is a rare exception! :

All photographs copyright matthew schiavello 2013


  1. When land is at a premium Matthew, it's interesting to see the methods devised to make the most of that. Here we have so much land, we're often careless about how it's used - hence, cars rule and public transportation's often inadequate. In some ways, smaller cities seem to be smarter.

    1. What a great comment! I agree and hadn't thought of it like that before.

  2. it's just so quaint... i luv it...
    & i luv the pic of red door/stairwell/bike