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He’s a man who gives the impression of having completely nailed the art of living the good life.

Three decades ago he bought a hull for about £1500, and over the next few years, transformed it into a family home.

“The best thing about living on a boat is that it lets you have the illusion of being free – Amsterdam people are a little ... anarchistic,” he says, smiling.

”In the Eighties there was such a shortage of accommodation that people took to the water. But it only actually became legal to live on a houseboat about 10 years ago. By then we already had a whole community living here.” 

He says everyone just learned how to manage by trial and error.

“It was a great way of connecting with people – once a week everyone from the boats around here would have dinner together, discuss any issues we were having with the boats and help each other out.” 

Even now, it seems as though the boat-owners are a very tight-knit group. Beers says everyone keeps an eye out for each other, and he never locks his doors.

”This community is full of people that are very unconventional,” he adds.

As I clamber over the deck later, breathing in the cold, fresh air, and watching the ducks potter about in the water below, I think illusion or not, I’d choose this kind of Amsterdam anarchy any day.

'Charming Houseboat' costs £66pn through

Eat, drink, sleep


Budget: They keep things simple at Zomerijs. It’s waffles and ice cream or waffles and whipped cream, but they’re done to perfection.

If you need a sugar hit, one of these bad boys will hit the spot. From £3.85 each.

Nieuwendijk 6, 1012 MK Amsterdam

Midrange: If your vice is cheese, the cafe-cum-shop at Cheese Factory is going to be a dangerous place for you, as free samples are given out with abandon.

The adjoining cafe serves cheesy dishes such as fondue, as well as soups, salads and pastas. Mains cost about £6. 

Luxury: Old-fashioned Dutch grub is given a gourmet makeover at the swanky Restaurant Greetje.

A sample dish is a grilled sandwich of traditional Frysian sugar bread with home-style duck liver pâté and apple syrup. Mains start from around £20. 


Be 'Dammed in Amsterdam: Swap toking for boating for a genuinely laid-back experience
Digital Mag

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