15 May, Wednesday

NETHERLANDS, Amsterdam – Drawn from the Dutch Golden Age, the distinctive architectural style of Amsterdam houses hide two quirks in plain sight – one deliberate, the other not quite so.

Keen observers would notice a slight disorderliness among otherwise neat rows of narrow houses. A combination of factors is to blame. Amsterdam houses are built on wooden piles, some of which were not designed to last 300 years. Changing underground water levels can also contribute to the leaning buildings, as can adding additional floors on top of old buildings.

Observing the frontage reveals another startling fact – most houses appear to lean outwards. It’s a fact that many houses in Amsterdam have top floors larger than the ground floor. As the houses; slim profiles can only accommodate narrow stairways, the Dutch instead hoist their furniture and goods from outside the windows. Having a facade that leans out means less likelihood of furniture hitting the wall or breaking a window.

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