Everything there is to know about the Netherlands

Amsterdam Narrowest House- All You Need To Know About

Everything there is to know about the Netherlands

Amsterdam, known for its unique and varied architecture, boasts some of the narrowest houses globally, a testament to the city’s history and resourcefulness. These narrow homes, often squeezed between larger properties, have become a distinctive feature of Amsterdam’s cityscape, creating a fascinating blend of history and modernity.

History Behind Narrow Houses in Amsterdam

The story of Amsterdam’s narrow houses dates back to the 17th century, a period often referred to as the Dutch Golden Age. During this time, Amsterdam experienced a significant economic boom, leading to a rapid population increase. As space became a premium, the city’s inhabitants began constructing narrow houses, allowing more people to fit within the city’s confined space.

According to historical sources, the city’s government introduced a tax system based on the width of a house’s facade. The broader the facade, the higher the tax. This policy led many residents to build their homes with narrower façades to evade higher taxes, resulting in some incredibly narrow houses.

The Narrowest House in Amsterdam: Oude Hoogstraat 22

Among the many skinny houses in Amsterdam, Oude Hoogstraat 22 holds the record for the narrowest, measuring a mere 2.2 metres in width, the equivalent of six wine bottles.

Everything there is to know about the Netherlands

This incredibly narrow house, located close to the Red Light District, stands between the gateway to the Walloon Church and the historic East Indies House. Despite its diminutive size, the house boasts a red-brick facade and traditional spout gable, mirroring the style of other Amsterdam canal houses, but in miniature form.

The plot of land for this narrow house was purchased by the municipality of Amsterdam in 1738. Initially, it was leased to a clockmaker in 1742 as a single-story building. Over the years, the building morphed from a workshop to a three-story home and eventually became a storefront for small businesses, including a jewellery store and a flower shop.

Today, this tiny landmark is home to Amsterdam’s smallest tea shop, which opened its doors in 2014. With a total area of just nine square metres, the tea room provides a cozy and unique experience for visitors and locals alike.

Where to find it: Oude Hoogstraat 22, Amsterdam
How to get there: Head to the heart of the Red Light District, near the Zuiderkerk

Other Noteworthy Narrow Houses in Amsterdam

While Oude Hoogstraat 22 may hold the title for the narrowest house in Amsterdam, other properties in the city also deserve mention for their slender dimensions and unique history.

Singel 7: The Loophole

Singel 7, located on the Singel Canal, is often mistakenly thought to be Amsterdam’s narrowest house. However, its narrowness is only at the back, where it’s just over one meter wide. The front of the house is normal width, so the inside isn’t as cramped as it seems from the back.

The special layout helped the first owners avoid taxes because houses were taxed based on their width along the canal, usually the front side. So, the narrow back side of Singel 7 was a clever way to tax evasion.

Where to find it: Singel 7, Amsterdam
How to get there: Head southwest from Central Station

Touring Amsterdam’s Narrowest Houses

Touring both  of Amsterdam’s narrowest houses can be a fun and informative activity, providing a unique perspective on the city’s history and architecture. This self-guided walking or cycling tour can easily be completed in just an hour or two, offering plenty of entertainment along the way.

Remember, these houses are more than just tourist attractions — they’re a testament to Amsterdam’s rich history and the ingenuity of its past inhabitants. So next time you’re in Amsterdam, don’t forget to check out these narrow houses and appreciate the stories they tell.

Have you seen the narrowest houses in Amsterdam? Let us know what you think of them in the comments below!