Woon: live, reside, dwell, house, home, stay, keep, lodge, abide, inhabit.
I would like to introduce a new segment I’ve decided to add to my little blog – Dutch Home Tours! I have had numerous questions from friends and family back in Portland about what houses are like and how people live their lives here in the Netherlands. I decided to tour the homes of…well whoever will let me!
The inhabitants of this Leiden home are a family of four, with two working professionals and two young girls. This is a larger sized home in the city, with five bedrooms, two toilets, a bathroom with a shower and a bathtub as well as a large garden in the back.
As with most Dutch homes, the kitchen, dining and living room are all in one open space. When asked what the most gezellig thing about their home is, mom had a few answers. “The dinner table, where we have all our meals together. Before we eat, we all hold hands and say “eet smaklijk”. We paint and draw with the girls, and when we work from home, we sit at the table (we do not have an office and that makes the evenings more “gezellig). This makes our dining area the busiest spot of the house, and nicely located close to the kitchen. That makes it east to have a chat while somebody is cooking or washing up.”
She goes on to say “I also really like our little window in the stairwell. We use it to say goodnight and wave with the girls. We put it in ourselves when we bought the house, as there was one in our previous home and we didn’t want to break our family tradition.”
In most kitchens you will find a bread box, or a “broodtrommel” on the counter top. They come in all shapes and sizes, but always contain the same thing. This family goes through about 10 slices of bread per day, which is 3-4 American sized loaves of bread a week! Actually, this is less than most Dutch families of this size – bread for breakfast, lunch and maybe a snack! Above you see the Albert Heijn grocery delivery box with a stack of bread on top.
Some very typical items you will see is many Dutch family homes are the Stokke Tripp Trapp chairs for kids. A design I fell in love with a few years back. In Portland you would see them in more stylized homes, but in the Netherlands, they are more of a standard highchair option for most families. Another is a “fietspomp”, or bike pump! I don’t have an image of the typical fietspomp, but you can see it here.
Yes the Dutch watch TV too! Seems silly, but I was worried I would be a lame American who loves watching my Netflix. I was wrong. While this family doesn’t watch a ton, I haven’t been to a house yet that doesn’t have a flat screen of some sort!
It is clear that there is lots of love in this home.
Last but not least, you will often find a Bakifiets cargo bike parked outside many family homes here (along with 2-3 regular bikes). Bakfiets literally means “bin bike”. Families and individuals without children make good use of them too. They are great for a large load of groceries or trips to the hardware store.
I hope you enjoyed my first little Dutch home tour! I would love to hear your feedback and ideas. Also, if you live in the Netherlands and are open to allowing me to taking some photos and asking a few questions let me know! I would like to showcase all sorts of homes. xoxo