September 6, 2011

Urban Houseboats.

Small Living in a Big City.

Since embarking on a documentary project about living small, I’ve become obsessed with finding other examples of people who live beautifully in small spaces. On a recent trip to Amsterdam, I was surprised to find these elegant and ingenious examples of urban small-scale living.

Downtown, Amsterdam’s houseboats are mostly reclaimed and antique—refurbished freighters and old tug boats. Newer boats have been built on floating barges in other neighborhoods—some with a modern flair, others with a straightforward and square look about them.

I love these houseboats because they’re an innovative use of urban space. They’re also downright romantic, with small painted doors and planters covering their top decks. Small curtains blowing in the framed windows, just a few feet above the water. A grill on board next to a table for outdoor eating, and a bike or two chained to a tree by the mailbox. A café just steps away on the cobblestoned corner. What more could you ask for?


If you’re interested in seeing more of our Tiny House explorations, check out our in-progress documentary, or follow us on facebook.



You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

Read Elephant’s Best Articles of the Week here.
Readers voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares:
Click here to see which Writers & Issues Won.

Merete Mueller

Merete is a writer and filmmaker, and was once-upon-a-time the Managing Editor of elephant journal’s print incarnation, from 2006-2008. Today, you can find her on Twitter @meretemueller and on her blog To The Bones. Her first documentary, “TINY: A Story About Living Small”, about people who have downsized their lives into homes the size of a parking space, premiered at SXSW in March 2013.