Why do buildings in Amsterdam lean forward?
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Why do buildings in Amsterdam lean forward?

If you ever visited this old colonial city and thought you saw the buildings tipping forward, it’s not your imagination. Indeed, the houses in this European city are slightly (sometimes very) tipped forward.
This is due to a very obvious logistical reason.

Tall and Narrow

To get deeper into this subject we must first analyze another architectural feature of these buildings: they’re tall and narrow.
They are narrow because back then houses were taxed according to the width of their façades. Cunning citizens then found a way to circumvent this, making houses very narrow up front but wider down the back

The narrowest of these is less than a meter wide! Find it in the picture below: it’s the red one with the width of a single window.

Leaning with a point

Seeing how narrow they are, can you imagine how thin their hallways and stairs must be? Now visualize getting a grand piano in that house, of course Amsterdam’s aristocracy want to live a life of luxury.
The last piece of this puzzle can be found in the next photo:

See the pulleys at the top of the houses?

The buildings lean forward so that when furniture is lifted with the pulleys they don’t scrape against the façade of the house! The big windows are then not only to let natural light in: they’re made so furniture can fit through them.

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