On our first and only day of apartment hunting we were able to make a decision and place an offer on an apartment that we love. Because, as our leasing agent mentioned, apartments in Amsterdam are snatched up like hot croissants! We saw 5 unique properties but only one was a good fit for us!
#1 – The Historic Monument
This apartment had been completely refurnished less than 6 months ago and is a ‘historical monument.’ The building is a typical old Dutch house built in the 1700’s and is situated in the heart of the city. You actually have to walk through a sandwich shop during the day (there is a private entrance at night) to reach a set of incredibly steep stairs which lead to a one bedroom apartment. Exposed wooden beams grace the living room and vaulted ceilings of the bedroom on the second floor. The apartment also has a central vacuum system…you stick a hose into the wall, vacuum your floor, and the dirt is magically disposed of…probably out the side of the house onto passing tourists.
Positives – Quaint, large windows, remodeled, washer/dryer
Negatives – No oven…, tiny kitchen, steep stairs
#2 – The Louis Vuitton
Next up…The Louis. Our agent drove us to the museum district and down the ‘5th Avenue’ of Amsterdam. Louis Vuitton, Burberry, and Tiffany all waved as we cruised. Noor (our agent) commented that depending on what type of wife I was we could be in trouble on this street. I let out a snort. I’m not a huge designer nut (albeit in secret it wouldn’t be horrible) I’d rather spend my money on food;) The apartment is located on the second floor with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the street. The kitchen has not been remodeled but was quite large and opened into the living room. The bedroom is quite spacious and has an on-suite bathroom that is also shared with the main part of the house.
Positives – Love the windows, open layout throughout
Negatives – Worn furniture and old decor (remember we’re only looking at fully furnished), no oven
#3 – The Brownstone
Next up, a charming neighborhood with brownstones(esque) lining either side of a tree filled street. The apartment is quite large and boasts 2 bathrooms! The living room has large windows (seems to be a theme) and the bedroom has french doors that open into the middle courtyard of all the houses. Right when we stepped onto the balcony, bells started playing from the neighboring church.
Positives – Neighborhood, remodeled kitchen (although small and cut off from rest of the house), separate laundry
Negatives – Awkward layout, mismatched furniture (or old), no oven
#4 – The Never Ending Stairs
We’re going up…and up…And before you think we’re wimps these stairs are not your normal USA regulated stairs. They don’t put handrails in because you’re at a 90 degree angle and can balance on the step above. However, this apartment has been remodeled! The bedroom, bathroom, and den/guest room are located on the first floor (or rather 3rd floor of the building). On the 2nd floor (aka 4th floor) is the living room and kitchen.
Positives – Large kitchen with oven, remodeled
Negatives – Did I mention the stairs?, room dedicated to one toilet, and it felt awkward to have the kitchen on the top floor
#5 – The Cured Meat
Our last viewing of the day! We had just stopped for a quick sandwich and coffee. The seller’s agent was waiting for us at arrival and he gave me a small wink as I walked up the stairs. Nice guy. The apartment is split into a long hallway and another section that houses a bedroom, den, and living room (all 3 rooms have adjoining doors). The kitchen boasts a darling old refrigerator and a new oven! However, the sink seems to have a rust disease and the faucet is a built in gas water boiler…I have no idea what this means but it looked like a white box affixed to the wall with a spigot. Oh, and there was a piece of cured sausage hanging from twine on a cupboard. Later that night, Sam told me the seller’s agent also gave him a little wink while opening the washer/dryer closet…
Positives – ??, cheap
Negatives – Cured sausage facility, gas heating, probably have to pull water up from the canals
So…which apartment do you think we chose? Did we go for remodeled yet smaller? Location and potential? Or space for visitors?