boat accommodation on the Amsterdam canals

Amsterdam houseboats

Amsterdam is a city that never disappoints when it comes to entertaining visitors in fun and exciting ways. One of those ways is the use of houseboats as a form of accommodation. The extensive canal network in the centre of Amsterdam is also a unique residential area. The colourful houseboats along the banks of the canals offer all the comfort of an ordinary house and have become a local tourist attraction. Houseboats have become an attractive place to stay for visitors who want to experience life in the Amsterdam waters. If you’re inspired and curious to stay in a houseboat yourself, than take a look at these options via

Amsterdam Houseboats are a typical phenomenon for in the Netherlands. You will find these floating houses in various canals all over the city and in total there are 2500 houseboats in Amsterdam. According to the Amsterdam municipality, this number is not growing anytime soon, because the municipality has set the limit at 2500 boats. Nowadays, houseboats in Amsterdam are connected to the electricity grid and also have running tap water. Some of them have gas as well.

Amsterdam houseboats became world-famous in 1988, after being in the news when the Dutch men’s football team, Orange, was celebrated in the capital city after winning the European Football Championship that was hosted by Germany. Festive Orange supporters were dancing on top of the houseboats, causing a number of boats to be severely damaged. Both the celebrations and the damages made the news, and from there, Amsterdam houseboats were introduced to the world.

Living on a houseboat in Amsterdam has always been popular since the 19th-century. The canals cross the city everywhere, the perspective on the water is calming and boats offer a lot of privacy. Over the centuries, more and more canals have been built with expansions of Amsterdam. The centre once had 74 canals, of which 18 were unfortunately filled in at the end of the 19th century to make the city more accessible to traffic. With city expansions in the 19th and 20th centuries, a further 22 canals were dug around the old city centre.

Apart from water management and habitation, it is also clear from a houseboat that the canals are often used as a route to make city tours. Canal boats are constantly sailing through the most popular canals. In recent years, it has also become very popular among the residents of Amsterdam to sail around with small boats during the summer months. Weekends are often dedicated to sailing around with friends and families with drinks and food onboard.

In the summer there is the annual Amsterdam Gay Pride, where the canals are full of boats, colourful visitors listening breathlessly on the bridges and the fascinated onlookers watching from their windows. There is also the annual Amsterdam Light Festival in the winter where artists from all over the world install their creative works of art on the canals for visitors to admire.

There are different types of houseboats in Amsterdam. Many are built as such, but there are also cargo ships and yachts converted into houseboats, and you can stay on the houseboats in the winter as well as in the summer. It is not possible to sail with houseboats, they are fixed at their own berth and are connected to the electricity grid and the sewer system of the city. Houseboats have everything a house has: a normal water supply, toilet and bathroom; all houseboats are well heated during the winter months and most have central heating.

Houseboats in Amsterdam - Thingstodoinamsterdam

Houseboats: the floating homes of Amsterdam

The original houseboats are beautifully restored ships that remind us of the shipping and trade history of Amsterdam. Many of these ships are more than 100 years old and still have the old characteristics in addition to modern facilities such as electricity, heating and tap water. Modern houseboats also appeared in the 1960s and 1970s to meet the growing demand for housing. This type of houseboat is built on a floating pontoon and usually has no motor. Luxurious houseboats, sometimes with multiple floors and equipped with terraces and gardens, are located in the most picturesque canals of Amsterdam.

Living on an Amsterdam Houseboat

Houseboats in Amsterdam are permanently located at a specific address. A special mooring permit gives the owner the right to moor his boat at a specific location. They are popular permits and, like everywhere else, the value of a houseboat is partly determined by a good location. Houseboats on the Herengracht and Prinsengracht usually go for a lot of money.

Where can you find houseboats in Amsterdam?

Around 2,500 households are lucky enough to live on one of the houseboats on the historic waterways of Amsterdam. Some of the most expensive and luxurious houseboats can be found in the neighbourhoods in the city centre, such as the Jordaan. During a canal cruise, which every visitor should experience, you will see some of the most beautiful houseboats in the city. A lot of Amsterdam houseboats are located on the main canals like the Prinsengracht and the Herengracht, and also in other parts of the city, like the neighbourhoods surrounding the Amsterdam Central Station and opposite the Heineken Brewery.

Tip: To find out more about living on a houseboat, you can visit the Houseboat Museum on the Prinsengracht. There you board a boat that was built in 1914 and one which housed a Dutch family for more than 20 years. The original living space gives a lot of insight into this way of life.

Amsterdam Houseboats: Accommodation on the canals

Nothing beats sleeping on a houseboat, your own quiet place in a busy city. Houseboats have also become a unique place for visitors to Amsterdam in recent years. Book an overnight stay on a canal to experience the convenience of a downtown location and let yourself be lulled by the water. And the next morning, be awakened by croaking ducks by your window.

Sleeping in an Amsterdam Houseboat

Looking for a nice and original accommodation in Amsterdam? Then spend the night on an Amsterdam houseboat. Below we listed some popular websites where you can find available houseboats in Amsterdam for rent. Most of them can be booked via At the moment offers 32 different houseboats in Amsterdam.

Houseboats in Amsterdam


If you have always wanted to rent a houseboat in Amsterdam, then you should try BookaRentals. This is the gateway to experiencing Amsterdam as you have never experienced it before. BookaRentals has a varied selection of houseboats. Whether you like to stay on an inland vessel in a wheelhouse, or rather on a modern ark: everything is possible.
Rapenburgerstraat 173,

Blue Wave Houseboat

Blue Wave Houseboat has a colourful double bedroom with double bed, bathroom with a bathtub. The boat is well heated and also has air conditioning, a DVD player, cable TV, internet access, a piano, a guitar and flowers. The houseboat is located on a quiet canal in a residential area, a mere ten-minute walk from the city centre. There is also a floating terrace with a water garden: a nature experience with ducks, geese and swans. Ideal for friends, partners, etc.

Blue Wave Houseboat
Da Costakade opp 136,

Rent A Houseboat

Rent A Houseboat is located on the edge of the Westeinderplassen. A beautiful ark with private garden and private jetty located in a green and water-rich area. The houseboat is suitable for 2 to 6 people and has two bedrooms, a bathroom with shower and toilet, dining room with open kitchen and a living room. In addition to the houseboat, there is a motorboat at your disposal. Ideal for families.

Rent a Houseboat
Oude Spoordijk 20ws,

Amsterdam Canal Boat Hotel

Amsterdam Canal Boat hotel offers you a unique accommodation on a houseboat along the peaceful Westlandgracht canal, on the edge of the Oud-Zuid district. The Vondelpark, Leidseplein and Museumplein lie at a 10-minute walking distance and there are also several restaurants like the Hardrock café nearby. This houseboat hotel in Amsterdam features a large double bed, a kitchen, LCD television and wireless internet. This offers a fun experience and is the perfect way to spend the night on a boat, with a lovely view of a typical Amsterdam canal.

Dutch Canal Boat Hotel
Westlandgracht 223

Houseboat Lady Jane

Located just 15 minutes from the Rijksmuseum, Houseboat Lady Jane offers one of the best experiences in houseboat accommodation. Good location and also an exceptional view of the city.

Houseboat Lady Jane
Jacob van Lennepkade

Boat A304 Romantic Sea Ship

Boat A304 is just a mere 8-minute walk from Amsterdam Central station, close to the Beurs van Berlage (before getting to Dam Square). The houseboat is beautiful and offers a romantic setting for couples.

Boat A304 Romantic Sea Ship
Prins Hendrikkade 121

Why should you rent a houseboat in Amsterdam?

Let’s be honest; we all try to do something different when we travel, but usually most of us end up doing the same. Travelling should be about new experiences and booking a houseboat in Amsterdam is certainly a lot more exciting than another night in a hotel. Below are some reasons why you should definitely book a houseboat on your next visit to Amsterdam.

1. Get a new perspective of Amsterdam

Amsterdam is quite a contrast with most cities in Europe. As you know, bicycles are preferred over cars and apart from the red-light district, famous museums and liberal drug laws, the city is best known for some really beautiful canals.

But what is so special about the canals? Well, they look simple, but more importantly, they offer a completely different perspective of the city. That means that everything looks different from the water, in contrast to the nearby streets or the cycling paths that run on either side of the canal. Streaming from left to right in every pocket of the city, these canals are also lined with colourful brick buildings, lush elms and friendly residents.

Renting a houseboat in Amsterdam is a great way to discover the heart of the city. These canals are, after all, the heartbeat of Amsterdam or at least the bloodstream. Everything feels connected on the water and there is clearly more to see when you look out of the window of your houseboat as opposed to one of the nearby hotels.

2. On a houseboat, see and hear the beauty that is the city of Amsterdam

When you rent a houseboat for the first time, you will realise why Amsterdam is such a beautiful city. As your houseboat is moored along the quay, you watch the waters flow, ducks and geese swim by and a large variety of boats pass your temporary floating holiday home. These sights also come with sounds. There is nothing as beautiful as the sound of quacking ducks to wake you up in the morning.

Apart from staying in a houseboat, you can also rent a boat to sail on the numerous canals in Amsterdam. As you make your way through the canals, the environment constantly changes, revealing the beauty of the city of clogs, her picturesque bridges and the sights and sounds of the old Amsterdam. You can feel the wind change with the weather and float from one neighbourhood to another, the facades are always colourful with vintage shops, coffeeshops, art galleries and historical monuments at every turn. That beauty is really something unique that can only be seen and heard from the old canals.

3. You get your money’s worth

When it comes to new experiences, renting a houseboat in Amsterdam is certainly the most unique accommodation option, not to mention the canal is the most interesting way to explore the city. With this in mind, renting a houseboat is always worth the money (if you make sure to rent with the right people).

A typical Amsterdam canal house - Houseboats in Amsterdam

4. Booking a houseboat is safe, easy and super fun

Houseboats in Amsterdam are heavily regulated by the municipality so they are very safe, and people who have (and rent out) houseboats usually need a permit to do so. Houseboats are usually equipped with all necessary facilities. The bathrooms have a shower, toilet and sink and the kitchens are fully equipped with a coffee maker, refrigerator, two-burner stove and kitchen inventory.

While staying in a houseboat, you will sleep as you do in a cabin with a double bed or a bunk bed. The terrace (and the roof terrace) of your houseboat are equipped with garden furniture. Many of the houseboats are also child-friendly so your children will definitely love staying there.

Renting a houseboat on the aforementioned websites is also very easy and fun. While booking, you can filter by price, rating and recommendations. And then you will get an extensive list of available houseboats in Amsterdam or in your vicinity.

Tip: take a moment to sit on your houseboat’s balcony and take in the surroundings with the many animals and boats passing by. You would love it!

Have you ever stayed in an Amsterdam houseboat? Did you like it, and would you recommend it to your family and friends? Let us know in the comments.

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