Tag Archives: Amsterdam

Amsterdam: houses loom over a canal

The Looming Houses of Amsterdam

Why Do Houses in Amsterdam Lean Forward? What’s Up with Those Hooks?

The photo below shows something you’ve definitely noticed if you’ve ever been to Amsterdam: those old, narrow buildings loom out over the narrow streets, as if you were walking through a fashion-forward cartoon.

You’re not high– they’re really leaning. Well, maybe you are high, but the buildings are leaning as well.

The fronts of these narrow houses are purposely built to lean slightly forward. Look up and you’ll see a hook atop each house. The purpose behind the leaning and the hook is to help move furniture in and out of the upper floors. You cannot get a couch up those narrow Dutch stairs. It’s just not going to happen.

Instead, you attach a rope and hoist the couch (or dresser or fridge) up, using the hook for mechanical advantage. Now you know.

Amsterdam: houses loom over a canal