The Dutch Culture and Their Quaintly Skewed Houses | Laissez-Passer
The Dutch Culture and Their Quaintly Skewed Houses
The Netherlands is a country of cultures that are uniquely Dutch, recognized as being generally tolerant and open-minded and a nation with progressive views. However, buying a house in Amsterdam can be problematic as some of the neighborhoods appear to be skewed.Also known as Holland, only parents and their offspring live together in Dutch homes. Family members maintain quite an interest in each other as they want to stay well informed about everything that’s happening. Children are encouraged to talk freely and to provide every detail to show that their parents can trust them. Doing so boosts parents’ confidence that their children can act with independence even if living separately from the family.
Dutch parents are still considered the heads of a family unit, which means they have the power to impose house rules. Although older Dutch children may disagree they are allowed to speak out and discuss their opinions with their parents.
On the topic of homes, any one who has been to Amsterdam, which is the capital of the Netherlands, will have noticed the city’s closely built but tilted houses.
Although tour guides offer explanations the answer is not as simple to understand.
What’s the Story Behind Amsterdam’s Tilted Houses
To understand the story behind Amsterdam’s tilted houses, one must first know that almost a quarter of the country’s land mass are reclaimed areas. This means that the land used to be part of the sea, which master engineers from centuries ago filled with land to keep much of the sea at bay. That is also why Holland is known as the Netherlands, which in English translation means “low lands.”
At the same time, the polders or reclaimed areas made it possible for migrants, especially those who came from Dutch colonies, to move into the country. That being the case, the soil in Amsterdam is not sturdy enough, because much of it stands on top of what used to be part of the sea. Therefore the soil cannot take very heavy loads.
Yet in order to stabilize and secure the house, the engineers of the olden days used poles that were embedded into the most solid and steady part of the ground. This kind of structural support worked well as long as the houses stayed close together and kept the structures upright.
In later years however, as the houses became heavier than what engineers calculated as their potential weight, the poles began to sink deeper. As a result, houses began to tilt, especially the ones located in the corner, due to the absence of a structure on one side.
The problem heightens if the owner of one of the houses decides to remodel. An Amsterdam loodgieter cannot just make adjustments without first checking with the Amsterdam council if the location of the house is a reclaimed neighborhood. In Jordaan, numerous houses sank into the ground prompting homeownes to call a loodgieter Amsterdam spoed.
Other homeowners have had the underground foundations checked before pursuing plans of remodelling or modifying the floors. The Amsterdam council gives advice to those who plan to buy a house in Amsterdam to check with the city records first.