Thursday, March 17, 2011
Old houses in The Nethelands are usually narrow, deep and tall, often 2-3 stories tall. And the buildings are often wider at the top than at the bottom. Yet another brilliant way of the Dutch people to save money. In the old days they paid taxes based on how wide the building is at its base. No tax collector could make them pay extra if the walls were not exactly straight and sloped gently outwards at the top. The fact that the rain that falls on the walls is more likely to flow down than leak into a wall that slopes outwards is the "official" explanation of the leaning walls of the Dutch. In my opinion the Dutch have executed a flawless tax evasion method. Another common feature, in the houses here, is that the front door is often on the side of the building and in few cases the backdoor is on the front. Stairways are narrow and steep and often the place where the Dutch keep their bicycles. Another feature is that the windows are large and tall, often from floor to ceiling (and clean). Glass is cheaper than brick so there you have still another way of saving money when building houses.