"Honey, I hung the kitchen!"
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If you have never been to The Netherlands, it is very well possible that you think that you can only find canals in Amsterdam. It is true that Amsterdam is known around the world as "The Venice of the North" and that the grachtengordel (the Dutch word for "canal ring") has recenly been added to UNESCO's World Heritage list. But canals are not exclusively found in Amsterdam - there are also beautiful canals in other big cities in the country, such as Delft or Utrecht or small towns like Valkenburg or IJlst, and in some cases these canals have unique characteristics. Take a look at this photo I took in the province of Groningen:
These are the (not so) famous hanging kitchens (hangende keukens, in Dutch) of Appingedam, a city in the northern province of Groningen.
Some of the 16th century houses along the Solwerderstraat in the city of Appingedam have kitchens overlooking the canal, the Damsterdiep. They were originally warehouses that were later converted into private residences in the 17th century. Due to the lack of space, they built the kitchens "hanging" over the Damsterdiep canal - a practical solution which also allowed the housewives back then, to collect the water for cooking directly from the canal and after the washing up, to throw the water out the kitchen window back into the canal.
Many of these houses were restored in the 1980s and they are still used as private residences. From the Vrouwenbrug (Women's bridge) you can get a nice view of the hanging kitchens:
|Vrouwenbrug over the Damsterdiep in Appingedam.|
|A nice little terrace over the canal and one of the hanging kitchens.|
Just walking around Appingedam you can spot charming scenes like these:
|Parking your boat in front of your house - how cool is that?|
|I wonder if the police hand out parking tickets along the canal, too?|
|Neighbours having a chat - how often do you see scenes like this in your neighbourhood?|
|In the summer, no need to put up your plastic paddle pool in your garden; in the winter, you have a natural ice-skating ring for free!|
|Modern houses by the marina in Appingedam.|
|Nice old houses on the Solwerderstraat.|
|Someone was watching me!|