The Houseboat Museum in Amsterdam is really one of a kind. A lot of tourists that wander or cruise along the Amsterdam canals are curious to find out what it must be like living in one of the canal boats. Vincent van Loon, initiator of the Houseboat Museum, decided to give tourists a unique insight in living on a houseboat. He bought The Hendrika Maria which he completely renovated to become classical houseboat and opened it to public.
The idea for the Houseboat Museum
When Vincent returned from teaching children in Tanzania in 1989, he found it difficult to find nice place to live in Amsterdam. The idea of living on a houseboat had crossed his mind before, so he decided to realize this dream. He bought an old boat and personally rebuild it to be his future home. During the years he spend on rebuilding, Vincent noticed how many neighbors and tourists were asking him about living on a houseboat. At some point, when Vincent was having his birthday, a foreign couple appeared among the invitees. They thought that the boat was open to public, as there were so many people on the boat. That was when idea for a Houseboat Museum was born.
Realization of the idea
After some research to the viability of the idea, Vincent bought the Hendrika Maria in august 1996. The boat is a classical houseboat in the sense that the ship is a retired vessel. The boat was no longer profitable to use as a freigther and thus, transformed into a home. The former cargo hold transformed into a living area. Vincent is still greatful for all the help he got back then, to realise his dream. Especially fromer owner of the boat was a major support during the realization of the idea. In 1997 the museum first opened its doors.
History of the boat
Chasing his passion Vincent put major effort in unraveling the history of the boat. And amazingly enough, he succeeded to unravel the boats history all the way back to when it was build in 1904. Some amazing historical facts about the boat include:
- The total build of the boat cost only 3581,25 Dutch Guilders which comes down to approximately €1750,-
- The Hendrika Marina was sunk on purpose near the end of the war in order to keep the ship out of German hands
- It wasn’t until the end of the Second World War that the ship got mechanical propulsion, before the ship was moved by wind only
- Vincent was able to track down all owners that owned the ship
To find out more, make sure to visit the Houseboat Museum. Vincent will tell you all about his museum and the history of the boat. Take a look at our blog about staying in a houseboat accomodation yourself in Amsterdam.