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Invader Stu: The Dutch house guide

Dutch houses (particularly those found in Amsterdam) are extremely dangerous and under no circumstances should they be bought, rented, lived in, squatted, visited or stepped foot there in.

When looking for accommodation in Holland it is advised to consider the much safer alternative of living on the streets.

Anyone who has spent any amount of time in a Dutch abode (and has lived to tell the tale) will be able to tell you about their many strange quarks and dangers. An Englishman’s home might be his castle but a Dutchman’s home is a deathtrap.

The Dutch stairs

Possibly the greatest health hazard that exists in a Dutch house are Dutch stairs. Dutch stairs are widely regarded as the most dangerous type of stairs in the world for one simple reason; they are insanely steep. So steep in fact that they are better thought of as ladders and in the case of spiral stair cases; twisty ladders.

Descending Dutch stairs is extra dangerous. Even people who have been living in Dutch homes for a very long time can still fall victim to them because (as well as being very steep) Dutch stairs are very patient.

All it takes is one sleepy morning when you forget that you are wearing your pair of extra slippery socks and one quick unexpected vertical trip later you will have a bruise the size of Belgium on your ass (possibly with a neighbouring country on the other cheek).

And God forbid that there is a window at the bottom of those stairs because if there is you might find yourself suddenly propelled across the street into a nearby canal (as I once nearly was).

As a rule, if your Dutch living-abode includes an upstairs area it is simply safer to forget that it exists at all and sleep in the living room, kitchen or hallway. This has the added benefit of giving the mice their own area of the house because as we all know every Dutch house comes with mice as standard (and can be very territorial).

Dutch houses lean

If fear of falling down the stairs is not enough to make you feel uncertain about your balance then the fact that almost every Dutch house leans will not help matters. One of the side effects of building houses on areas that used to be swamp or a part of the sea before they got filled in is that the ground is very soft and houses tend to develop a "slight" tilt over time.

The combination of Dutch stairs and tilting floors often gives the feeling of living in a fun ground fun house.

As well as interfering with your sense of balance this presents a very real danger that one day your whole house might slide off into the adjacent canal. This is particularly alarming if it is only discover upon waking up in your bed as it floats alongside a canal tour boat. For this reason it is strongly advised to have a hard hat and some sort of floatation device nearby at all times.

Don't worry about the wiring!

It is not all bad though. The one thing you don’t have to worry about in a Dutch house is the wiring. With everything else that can go wrong you would be forgiven for thinking that the fuses would need changing every time you so much as point at an electrical outlet.

However, as luck would have it Dutch fuses are extremely strong and will survive the greatest of electrical fires. Even if every single lighting fixture and electrical appliance is flickering like an evil spirit is trying to manifest itself you do not have to worry about the electricity failing (and that it is most likely those mice chewing threw the cables again since they have finished your favourite box of cereal).

It is a comforting thought to know that when your house has burnt down to the ground and all your worldly possessions are gone you will still be able to salvage the fuses from the wreckage for use in your next Dutch house (if you choose to take the risk again).


Invader Stu is an accident prone Englishman who has been suffering from Dutch culture shock for the last ten years. Enjoy his stories, more of which can be found on Invading Holland.
 

Stuart

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Stuart B

An accident prone Englishman living in Holland since 2001. Still not great with the language but finds stampot lekker.

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