High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

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High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

Opposites Attract. Living on the Water
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Opposites Attract. Living on the Water

(Daniël Depenbrock) The Low Countries - 2003, № 11, pp. 65-70

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For centuries the Dutch have done their best to keep their feet dry. The simplest solution has always been to live above the NAP: the ‘Normaal Amsterdams Peil', or the zero Amsterdam ordnance datum. Yet as early as 600 BC people were making their homes in areas that were regularly under water. And then came Amphibious Living, ‘a plea to abandon the compulsive need to control water (…) for a new housing mentality'. From houseboats to the IJburg project: a new residential area in Amsterdam located entirely on the water: part of it on newly created islands, and part of it afloat. Symbolic of the Netherlands' changing relationship with the water are the floating houses on the Maas near Roermond. They adapt to the river's water level and make it possible to return to the romance of living on the water.

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