Updated in 2022! I love tiny places - but will my stomach love being on a houseboat? And it's not just any houseboat. It's the Amsterdam Houseboat Museum!
I am absolutely obsessed with tiny places and spaces with plenty of hidden nooks and crannies. Folding camping gear, hidden drawers in RVs, nifty gadgets for organizing luggage - these are just a few of my favourite things! So it only made sense that I visited Amsterdam's Houseboat Museum at Prinsengracht 296K. Visiting a houseboat is like the Disneyworld of organization and I couldn't wait to check out how every square foot of space is used to the max.
There was just one problem. Exactly how would my notorious seasickness fare on a houseboat?
Exploring insider the Amsterdam houseboat museum's tiny kitchen and surprisingly spacious living room
As you can imagine, the Amsterdam Houseboat Museum is one of the smallest museums in the city - if not the smallest of them all! Still, it came recommended in my Lonely Planet city guide and I didn't want to miss it. As you plan your visit, note that it's only open on Fridays from 10:00AM to 5:00PM.
When you first step onboard, the open reception room, located in the houses' main living room, is surprisingly roomy and spacious. In fact, it wasn't much smaller than the average sized sitting room and its layout was similar to that of our own home. The boat is a former freighter from 1914 and it didn't start its second career as a houseboat until the 1960s. The original decor from this era remains intact but, with a bit of a style makeover, I could completely see myself living there! (If you think you'd love houseboat living, you can speak to the staff of the tourism board about short term houseboat hire options for a weekend or so - there are some luxury Amsterdam houseboat rentals that are almost exclusively used for travelers.)
Visitors explore the Amsterdam Houseboat Museum via a self-guided tour that's available in a wide variety of languages. After entering through the living room, you turn right to the tiny kitchen, which was surprisingly well equipped. There was also a sleeping bunk in the ship's bow. I do love snug bedrooms but I think this was too tight for my liking! I was starting to suspect that perhaps houseboat living wasn't for me - at least, not the vintage version.
Walking back through the living room and towards the stern, there's some additional sleeping berths and an interactive education area where you can sit to watch some videos. Now, I should have known better than to duck down into this, the smallest of nooks, and start watching a video. Hello, seasickness! Needless to say, it was a bit mortifying to dash out of a houseboat in order to save my stomach! Yep, it's safe to say that my initial impression was wrong. I could NOT live on a houseboat - no matter how charming they are.
Back to fresh air!
While Ryan insists that there was virtually no movement aboard the Amsterdam Houseboat Museum, my body said different and I was pleased to be back above deck. Happily, visiting the museum is a short and sweet experience and you can have a very comprehensive visit in just 30 minutes or less. It's a great way to get in touch with a unique side of Amsterdam life and I'm so glad that the museum is included with the iAmsterdam card, which serves as Amsterdam's museum card, as it will encourage more visitors to explore attractions that are just a little bit off the beaten path. And despite my queasy episode, I'm happy we had the chance to see inside one of the most intriguing museums in the city.
Tell the truth - am I alone in my pitiful seasickness?
If you're heading to Amsterdam, these article will help plan your trip:
Visiting the Amsterdam Tulip Museum
Our favourite spots to eat at in Amsterdam
10 Destinations for First Time, Solo Travelers
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