10 Surprises Amsterdam Apartments Might Have for Expats

Surprises of Amsterdam Apartments

One should always expect new experiences when heading to a new country, and this is no different in the Netherlands. Newcomers can enjoy the experience of new foods, a new language, and cultural nuances. Even the typical Amsterdam apartment offers some unique twists that might surprise expats.

Bikes are Everywhere 

Everyone knows that Dutch love to bike. Just glance outside, and you’ll see bikes all over the place, including bikes transporting pets, children, and even furniture. All those bikes have to be kept somewhere though, and often that will be in hallways or communal gardens.

The Bathtub Has Been Replaced by a Shower 

If you like to enjoy a nice relaxing bath after a tough day at the office, then you may be out of luck in the Netherlands. While some places do have bathtubs, it’s more common to find showers.

Matching Window Accessories 

The best way to show that you are fully committed to your new life in the Netherlands? Go to the local shop and find yourself two matching lanterns, plants, and Buddha statues. Put them in the window of your front room and sit back, safe in the knowledge that you’ve begun integrating yourself.

Keep the Curtains Open 

Don’t worry about closing those curtains either. The Dutch are known to keep their curtains open, inviting passers-by to have a good look inside. We’re not sure if the Dutch feel there’s nothing to hide or if they want to showcase their latest and greatest purchases.

Steep Stairs 

Often one of the first things you’ll see when entering an Amsterdam home is some very steep stairs. There was a time when they had a purpose—as canal houses were taxed on how wide they were; prompting people to create tall, thin houses to pay fewer taxes—but now all they mean is that you could be left crawling up those killer stairs.

The Toilet 

The old toilets in Amsterdam apartments can be a little surprising. You won’t be squatting over a hole, but you will be faced with what is known as an inspection shelf. To put it simply, this collects your handiwork and allows you to admire it before flushing. Take our advice, and don’t look back.

More on That Toilet 

Not only do Dutch toilets have distinctive designs, but they also can have a room all to themselves. This “toilet room” is often quite small, so don’t bump into anything as you sit down, and don’t forget to admire the family calendar on the wall. The sink—assuming there is one—will almost always only offer cold water.

Fridges and Freezers are Tiny 

If you thought that the toilet room was small, then just wait until you meet your brand new fridge/freezer. Imagine a full sized fridge, split that in half, and that’s what you can expect; and that’s if you’re lucky. They can be even smaller.

Stoves Cook on Gas 

If you’re a little unnerved by open flames, then brace yourself. The kitchens of Amsterdam apartments typically come with gas stoves. The upside of this is the great “whoosh” noise they make when you light the gas.

Small Balconies 

You can expect to have a balcony no matter where you are in the Netherlands, but you shouldn’t hope to have a BBQ party. The quantity of Dutch balconies might be large, but the average size of these is relatively small. Three really is a crowd here.

If you’re put off by the idea of steep stairs and small balconies, then the good news is that you do have choices. There are some great Amsterdam apartments out there, and while even we can’t change how housing is in the Netherlands, we can at least ensure you have a comfortable stay.

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