A canal barge houseboat in Amsterdam
The Charlotte Johanna first set sail in 1908, transporting freight along the inland waterways connecting Western Europe. A little over a century later, it was converted into a floating home and is now moored on the Prinsengracht canal in central Amsterdam.
A canalside gangplank leads to the main entry into the boat’s wheelhouse, which is used as a lounge. From there, a steep stair descends into what was once the cargo hold but is now a comfortable living space. The original cargo hold doors were replaced with skylights, making the below-deck space surprisingly sunny and helping to counteract the low ceiling.
Moving from the wheelhouse forward, you pass by the bathroom and the kitchen with its peninsula dining space. You then proceed through the living room and arrive at the master bedroom cabin at the bow. A compact second bedroom is located in what was the captain’s cabin at the boat’s stern. That bedroom is accessed directly from the wheelhouse.
Topside, a new deck was added in front of the wheelhouse, providing a great spot to relax while watching the passing boat traffic. The deck surface was fabricated from metal grate so that plenty of sunlight could still pass through to the skylights below.
What does it cost to live aboard a barge in Amsterdam? According to one source, moorage in Amsterdam runs about EUR 200 monthly. Annual maintenance can cost anywhere from EUR 1,000 to 3,000. That doesn’t include a haul out every few years to have the hull cleaned of rust and repainted, which will set you back about EUR 2,000–3,000. While the boat is in dry dock, a marine surveyor can inspect the hull for soundness, giving you peace of mind at a cost of up to EUR 700. So not including your electric bill and any mortgage payment, you’re probably looking at around EUR 350-550 monthly.
The Charlotte Johanna is available as a vacation rental on Airbnb. The houseboat’s central location puts it within easy walking distance of many of the city’s tourist attractions. Enjoy the photos!
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Photographs courtesy of Airbnb / The Charlotte Johanna.
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