Amsterdam, boast the narrowest house in all of Europe. 22 Oude Hoogstraat is a tiny house with a clock gable, typical for Amsterdam. The front is only 2.02 meters wide. The house is 6 meters deep. Canal-boat commentators and other tourist guides like to point out the narrowest house in Amsterdam. They account for the phenomenon by explaining that property was taxed on frontage – the narrower the house the lower the tax, regardless of the height. But each one has a different version regarding the narrowest house.
Compressed between two other canal houses, on the Singel a very narrow house is trying to survive. All canal boat tour guides will point out to this remarkably tiny house and just imagine what rooms must be in here and how they are filled with what kind of furniture.
This house has the worlds narrowest front of only one meter wide? Its found on the Singel canal and is barely wider than the front door. However, the rear sections of the house expand to more the size of an ordinary house. Compressed between two other canal houses, on the Singel a very narrow house is trying to survive. All canal boat tour guides will point out to this remarkably tiny house and just imagine how difficult it must be to decorate the house.
There is a fight about which is Amsterdams as well as Europes narrowest house: Singel No 7 with a 1-meter-facade – but broadening to the back, Oude Hoogstraat 22 at 2.02m or Kloveniersburgwal 26. This latter residence, the Small Trippenhouse, has the best story to tell. This building has a beautiful, 2.44-meter-wide list gable. The house is known as the Trippen House or The House of Mr. Trips coachman. It is located right opposite the Trip House at no. 29. This Trip House is well over 22 meters wide and the broadest private residence in Amsterdam. The extremely wealthy brothers Lodewijk and Hendrick Trip had this house built in 1660. The brothers amassed a fortune from the iron, copper, guns and ammunition trade. Legend has it that Mr. Trips coachman exclaimed: ‘Oh my, I would be happy if I had a house that was only as wide as the front door of my masters house.’ Mr. Trip overheard him and made sure that his wish came true.
However the reason to build narrow house is more than fiction. All structures in Amsterdam are built on pilings sunk deep into soft soil. They get added reinforcement by being built adjacent to one another, so each building leans on the others in a block. These pilings can be made of wood because the muck they sit in doesnt allow oxygen to break down the wood. Way back when, people used to put in their own pilings when building a house. Not everyone was good at it, nor did many have the resources to set big pilings very deep. So houses started to lean; then whole blocks started to lean. So the government put in pilings themselves. They taxed residents to recoup the costs. The tax was based on how wide your house was. So, of course, one built the narrowest, longest, highest house one could.