#22 Amsterdam again … or into every great holiday a little shit must fall

August 22, 2012

Here’s our review posted to airbnb for our “Rent your own houseboat Amsterdam” experience … says it all really …


Not the scenic view from our houseboat.


Admiring the architecture, while wondering what to do about our accommodation.










Houseboat is too generous a description for this accommodation.
It is not so much a house as a caravan, and a primitive one at that. There is no electricity, no running water and no flushing toilet, some facts I believe Justin should make clear on his listing. And the “neighbouring” boat for the shower is across a public car park.
We were prepared for gas cooking and kerosene lighting and a camp toilet after asking Justin specifically for these details, but the “potty” is right in the middle of the living/sleeping space, opposite the sink (which no longer drains on to the floor but runs via a plastic pipe through the side of the boat) so there is no privacy whatsoever.
And given the state of the rest of the site we were not sure how well the camp toilet had been maintained, so weren’t game to use it.
The boat’s blinds are broken, the main window near the bed is broken and patched with perspex and ply, the window in the entrance door is covered with paper.
The gangplank is narrow and would be treacherous in the wet, and the boat itself is moored behind a bank of weeds next to some dirty public toilets. The cobbles of the carpark as you approach the boat are littered with toilet paper.
So while the location itself is great, just near central station, there is nowhere you can sit and enjoy it. There is no deck on the boat and nowhere to sit nearby.
There is no wifi available on the boat, as advertised … you have to stand in the carpark to log in to a nearby hotel’s network. And it is difficult to cook as there is no refrigerator, little bench space and very few utensils supplied. Certainly none of the homey offerings and assistance we have come to enjoy from other airbnb hosts.
As a consequence we stayed away from the boat as long as possible, returning only to sleep … At least the bed was comfortable.
We seriously considered moving shortly after we arrived but decided we didn’t want to spend our one full day in Amsterdam arguing over accommodation and trying to find another place to stay. And as Justin was out of town we were dealing with his neighbour, who appeared a little embarrassed by the whole episode.
In hindsight I wish we had gone elsewhere as it did sour our Amsterdam experience. I wish we had seen Christopher’s review before we booked.
We were prepared for an “authentic” experience and have stayed on friends’ boats in Australia. But “authentic” does not need to be Third World.
We would never stay here again and would not recommend it at all, especially at this price.

I also messaged Justin (the boatman) directly expressing our disappointment and asking him to consider refunding us one night’s accommodation. Haven’t heard anything back yet and don’t expect to.
The experience did spoil our return to Amsterdam, despite our best efforts … But not our love of Amsterdam. Reason enough for another visit, perhaps even another houseboat stay.


I am(still)sterdam despite our dreadful houseboat experience.


About grahamandjo

Graham (aka husband aka Harry to some) and Jo are fulfilling a long-held dream to revisit Europe; retrace some old paths from our mid-20s youth and forge some new ones. And nothing, not a daughter's pregnancy or mass redundancies at work, will stop us having the most awesome time. Friends, family and anyone else who's interested are welcome to drop by. Our trip is for 4 months; can't promise I'll maintain the blog that long. Photos can be found on Facebook if you know us there.
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One Response to #22 Amsterdam again … or into every great holiday a little shit must fall

  1. Corinne says:

    Oh dear, sounds awful. I hope you post a really negative post on the website you found the accommodation. Not a great way to remember Amsterdam.

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