Home FAQ How Many Houseboats Are There in Amsterdam?

How Many Houseboats Are There in Amsterdam?

by Rafal Sulowski

Lately, I was interested in renting a houseboat in Amsterdam. I think these boats are amazing houses in the center of this beautiful city. Living on the boat in Amsterdam sounds cool to me and I wanted to try it for some time. I made some research and I was very surprised by the information I learned about houseboats in Amsterdam. Do you know how many houseboats are there in Amsterdam?

There are over 2500 houseboats permanently anchored in Amsterdam canals. They have their own address and access to utilities. Most of the houseboats are located in the city center. There are about 80 rental houseboats in Amsterdam available for tourists.

I was very surprised when I heard that there are so many houseboats in the capital of the Netherlands. But it’s not that much when you consider that canals in Amsterdam measure all together more than 100 km. I’ve learned even more cool information about houseboats in this city, so if you are interested in this topic, keep on reading. Enjoy and if you have any question please leave a comment in a section below the text.

Why So Many Houseboats in Amsterdam?

Photo courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org

Yes, there are hundreds of houseboats in Amsterdam and you may wonder now why there are so many. In the ’60s and ’70s, there was an immigration rush in Amsterdam and there was a lack of housing for newcomers. Because of that, houseboats were used as alternative housing. Back then it was much cheaper but now not anymore. Prices of houseboats anchored in the city center can go over 1 million euro.

In Amsterdam, there is more than 100 km of canals. Water transport and trade has been the main point of the economy in this area. That’s why boats have been always a part of the Dutch landscape. The Netherlands for ages was colonizing the world and was bringing goods from different countries. That’s one of the reasons why Dutch don’t have their own cuisine. They used to bring various foods from all over the world. I don’t mean that you can’t eat anything good in Amsterdam. I am far from saying that. Amsterdam is a great place for food lovers because you can find here great restaurants from all over the world. By saying this I mean that Dutch don’t have their traditional cuisine. Try to find a restaurant with Dutch food in Amsterdam. Good luck 🙂

Life On a Water

Living on the houseboats provide all the comfort of living in a regular house. These houseboats are quite big, there are fully furnished kitchens, baths and even terraces with gardens. Big windows of modern houseboats make living space very comfortable. They can be a great way of living for residents of Amsterdam but also for people visiting this city. Below you’ll find some more information about houseboats rental.

These floating houses aren’t motorized, they are permanently anchored to a particular location and they even have their own address.

Are you planning to rent or buy a houseboat? Have you ever tried that kind of lifestyle? Of course, today houseboats offer much higher standards than in the past but you should try living on the water before you buy a boat. It’s surely way different than living in a flat. For me, it sounds more of an adventure and it’s definitely worth trying.

Now, when housing prices skyrocket, houseboats are also a great solution for people with a limited budget. Keep in mind that modern houseboats can be very pricey. There is also a high demand for this kind of hippie-style houses.

Where To Find Houseboats in Amsterdam?

Photo courtesy of PatricioHurtado || Pixabay

Most of the houseboats are anchored in the city center. They are moored along the canal belt and the Jordaan district. There are plenty of houseboats on an Amstel river.

The plan of the Amsterdam municipality is to move houseboats more to the side of the city. It’s because the boats limit visibility in the center. I love how houseboats are a part of Amsterdam landscape and I am not really into the idea of moving them but that’s what the government is trying to do. They can’t move boats without permission so at the moment moving is voluntary. The price on the houseboat is basically based on its locations so their owners won’t be very motivated for moving. Another reason why they can be forced to move is that houseboats have to be regularly maintained and to be honest some of them need a serious renovation. However, most floating houses are very beautiful.

How Much do Houseboats in Amsterdam Cost?

Prices of houseboats in Amsterdam vary a lot. They start from 40k and go all the way up to 1 million euro. If you target modern houseboat prices start from 175 000 euros. You must remember that the initial cost of purchase is just part of the investment. There are more hidden costs, such as monthly mooring costs which is about 200 euros (it depends on the size of the boat). There is also fuel and the cost of oil, insurance and registration fee. There are also costs that you have to keep in mind for years to come. It’s the maintenance of the houseboat and you’ll spend on it between 1000 to 3000 euros on a yearly basis.

A History of Houseboats in Amsterdam

Most houseboats in the city of Amsterdam are over 100 years old. In the past, in the times of immigration fever, there was a problem with housing and houseboats were a great solution for the rising housing demand. Houseboats provide electricity, heating and running water and they are fully equipped. There is nothing hippie anymore in living in these floating houses. There is everything that one may need.

There are two different types of houseboats. The older ones that are just former transport boats transformed into living boats. These metal ships used to transport goods in the past. Now they are a quite pricey residential solution. They are very charming but they don’t let in that much light and they need some more maintenance.

Another type of houseboat, a modern one, is a house built on a floating concrete pontoon. Most of the time they have huge windows, beautiful design and they are fully furnished.

Buy a Houseboat?

If you would like to own a houseboat this is the only solution. To park your boat in Amsterdam you need a special license called “ligplaats” and it’s not possible to get it anymore. The only way to get a houseboat is to buy an existing one that has a license. In fact, they try to limit the number of houseboats in the city center, so buying a houseboat may be a pretty good investment. The amount of boats is going to be lower in the future.

Pric of a houseboat depends on few factors:

  • Age of the boat
  • Locations where it is anchored
  • Size of the boat
  • Condition of the boat

The houseboat price may vary from 45 000 euro to 1 million euro. The same as with the regular properties the most important is a location. Based on that even a little and old houseboat may be very pricey.

When you consider buying a houseboat you must keep in mind that these boats must be regularly maintained and this can be pretty pricey. A lot of humidity and direct contact with water make these Dutch floating houses more prone to rot. Moreover, some of them are over 100 years old and they need some special care.

Rent a Houseboat?

Last few days I was searching for a houseboat to rent. The cheapest one I have found was 2 person, 110 m2 boat for 1800 euro. You can find something even for 1500 euros but this is when it comes to long term rental. For short term rental, you have to pay at least 100 euros per night. The price can go up even to 1500 euros per night. Of course, these rental prices are for more than one person. You should search for some current offer of rental houseboats available here – LINK

There are different kinds of houseboats, so you can rent a regular small boat, a houseboat made of an old transport boat or a modern houseboat built on a concrete pontoon.

If you plan on coming to the Netherlands for some time, renting a houseboat may be a very interesting option for you. It’s kind of hippie experience and you will tell stories about it for decades to come. Have you ever been living in a houseboat? Please share with us your experience.

Are Houseboats in Amsterdam Safe?

So you are coming to Amsterdam and you would like to spend a night on the water but you are worried about safety. I did some quick research and I couldn’t find information about any accidents. Houseboats in Amsterdam are perfectly safe, mostly because they have to be regularly renovated and owners take care of them on a consistent basis.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More