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Typically Dutch - Houseboats

GBP £5.24
Sheetlets CTO
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First Day Cover
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Presentation Pack
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About Typically Dutch - Houseboats

On 6 April 2021, PostNL will publish the Typically Dutch - houseboats stamp sheet. This issue is the fourth in the Typically Dutch series this year. The six identical postage stamps will be marked 'Nederland 1', the denomination for items weighing up to 20g destined for the Netherlands. The Typically Dutch - houseboats issue was designed by graphic designer Edwin van Praet from Total Design in Amsterdam. The illustration designed by Van Praet is based on photographs of various houseboats in different areas of Amsterdam and Weesp. After these stamps featuring houseboats, PostNL will issue a final stamp sheet in the Typically Dutch series on 14 June featuring terraced houses. Earlier this year, PostNL published stamps featuring stolpboerderijen [‘stolp farmhouses’] (4 January) and wooden houses (22 February) and canal houses (22 March).

This year, the Typically Dutch series focuses on house types and façades that are typical for the Netherlands. The oldest written sources about the history of houseboats in the Netherlands date from around 1600. From that time onwards, people certainly lived on ships permanently, and especially on cargo ships that had been converted for residential use. There are few reliable figures on the number of houseboat occupants in recent centuries. In Friesland in around 1850 at least, there were thousands of ships with at least as many inhabitants. There was a notable increase in houseboats after 1945 due to the housing shortage at the time. The type of ship varies. Some remain almost in their original state and others receive drastic renovations or an entire new superstructure is added. A distinction is often made between arks (concrete hull with a wooden, stone or plastic superstructure), barges (a metal ship with a similar type of superstructure) and houseboats (decommissioned inland vessels or other historical ships that have taken on a residential function). Houseboats have their own residential address, using the letters t/o (tegenover meaning ‘opposite’) or a/b (aan boord meaning ‘on board’). It is becoming more and more common that houseboats are given ordinary addresses with ordinary house numbers. On 1 January 2018, the Wet verduidelijking voorschriften woonboten (‘Clarification on Regulations for Houseboats Act’) came into force. Before then, the situation often differed per municipality. This law sets out that all houseboats with berths are considered buildings. This also means that they have to meet the requirements of the Bouwbesluit (‘Buildings Decree’, 2012) and have an environmental permit. In the Netherlands, a limited number of official berths for houseboats are available: an estimated 10,000. Our country has a restrictive mooring policy. This means that the number of official berths is not expanded. The houseboats featured on the Typically Dutch - houseboats stamp sheet are located in Weesp (Vecht) and Amsterdam (Amstel).

Sources: Heritage on the water (publication of the National Houseboat Organisation, LWO),,