The bed and breakfast guide for your stay in Amsterdam

Bed and Breakfast Guide and History Amsterdam

Let's start with the basics. What is a bed and breakfast? A bed and breakfast is a small, intimate accommodation that offers overnight stays and sometimes breakfast, but no other meals to its guests. The B&B is most often in the same house or apartment as where the people who run it live.

Now let's go back in time: "What is the origin of the bed and breakfast"?

The concept of a bed and breakfast, often abbreviated as B&B, has been around for centuries. Originating from the early European custom of opening one's house to travelers, B&Bs have evolved over time but have always held at their core the notion of hospitality.

Medieval Europe and Monastic Lodgings

Historically, monasteries and inns throughout Europe would offer lodging to travelers on religious pilgrimages during the medieval period. These establishments provided a bed for the night along with a meal in the morning before the travelers continued on their journey, very similar to the modern concept of a B&B.

The Evolution of the B&B Concept

As transportation methods improved with the advent of the railway in the 19th century, the middle class began to travel for pleasure. This new form of tourism led to an increase in demand for affordable accommodation. People would let out spare rooms in their homes for travelers, offering a more personal and less expensive alternative to staying in larger hotels.

B&Bs in the United States

In the United States, B&Bs began to emerge during the early 20th century as an economic means for homeowners to supplement income. They saw a decline in the mid-20th century with the rise of large hotel chains, motor lodges, and motels with the burgeoning interstate highway system.

However, the latter part of the 20th century saw a resurgence in interest in B&Bs, particularly among tourists seeking a more authentic, local experience. The explosion of the internet in the late 20th century also greatly aided this resurgence, making it easier for potential guests to find and book B&Bs, and for proprietors to advertise their establishments.

B&Bs Today

Today, B&Bs offer an attractive alternative to traditional hotels and motels, particularly for travelers seeking a more personal touch. These establishments are often located in residential neighborhoods and provide a home-like atmosphere. B&Bs are also often located in historic homes, and many emphasize their connection with the local community, local history, and culture.

In addition to a room and a meal, B&Bs often offer amenities such as private gardens, libraries, and locally sourced food. Some even offer classes or events on local culture, crafts, or history. The combination of these factors has allowed B&Bs to carve out a significant niche in the accommodation industry worldwide.

Early Houseboat History in Europe

While bed and breakfasts have a long history, houseboat B&Bs are a relatively recent phenomenon, originating in places like Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The history of these accommodations is closely tied to the history of houseboats themselves, particularly in Europe.

In Europe, houseboats first became a common sight in the canals of Amsterdam in the early 20th century. They were initially used as a practical solution to the city's housing shortage and the abundance of waterways. Many of these early houseboats were converted from old cargo vessels or even WWII vessels, as it was cheaper to buy an old boat and convert it into a dwelling than to purchase land and build a house.

Emergence of Houseboat B&Bs

It wasn't until later in the 20th century that houseboats began to be used as B&Bs. As tourism in Amsterdam grew, so did the demand for unique and interesting accommodations. Houseboat owners realized they could supplement their income by renting out rooms or the entire boat to tourists. By staying on a houseboat, tourists could have a unique experience that connected them more closely to the city's maritime culture.

In other parts of Europe, such as Paris and London, houseboat B&Bs have also grown in popularity. Similar to Amsterdam, these cities have an abundance of waterways and a vibrant maritime history. Houseboat B&Bs offer tourists a unique way to engage with this history and experience city life from a different perspective.

Historic canal building Amsterdam

Houseboat B&Bs Today

Today, houseboat B&Bs have become a popular accommodation choice, particularly in cities with a strong maritime history. They offer a unique experience that combines the comfort of a B&B with the novelty of staying on a houseboat. This gives visitors a taste of the boating lifestyle and a unique perspective of the city.

Many houseboat B&Bs have all the comforts of traditional B&Bs, including comfortable rooms, a delicious breakfast, and the personal touch of a host. Some also offer extras like a deck or terrace with views of the waterway and the city beyond.

Houseboat B&Bs not only provide a unique and memorable experience for tourists but also help to preserve the maritime history and character of cities where they're located. They are an important part of the tourism industry in many European cities and continue to grow in popularity.

Floating B&Bs

If you're looking for a unique place to stay in Amsterdam, why not try a bed and breakfast in a houseboat? These floating B&Bs offer all the comforts of a regular bed and breakfast, plus the added bonus of being on the water. Amsterdam is home to hundreds of canals, so there's no shortage of houseboats to choose from.

In historic buildings vs houseboat B&B

If you're looking for a unique place to stay in Amsterdam, why not try a bed and breakfast in a houseboat? These floating B&Bs offer all the comforts of a regular bed and breakfast, plus the added bonus of being on the water. Amsterdam is home to hundreds of canals, so there's no shortage of houseboats to choose from. On the other hand, if you're looking for more traditional accommodations, Amsterdam has plenty of bed and breakfasts to choose from in general. Many of these B&Bs are located in historic buildings, so you'll be able to get a taste of what life was like in Amsterdam centuries ago. You will find B&Bs located in the city center, so you'll be within walking distance of all the major tourist attractions.

Whether you choose a traditional B&B in a historic building or opt for the unique experience of a houseboat B&B, you're sure to find a comfortable, personal, and memorable place to stay during your visit to Amsterdam.

Each B&B, whether it's on land or water, offers its own charm and appeal. The owners often live on the premises and are a wealth of local information, providing you with an authentic experience and insights into the local culture that you wouldn't get from staying in a conventional hotel.

Today, the B&B industry, including the houseboat B&B sector, is thriving worldwide. The personal touch, historic settings, and opportunities to connect with local cultures continue to draw travelers seeking unique accommodation experiences.

So whether you're planning a trip to Amsterdam or any other city with rich historical and maritime traditions, consider staying at a traditional B&B or houseboat B&B. These accommodations offer a slice of local life and an opportunity to engage with the history and culture in a way that most hotels simply can't match. They represent an important facet of the tourism industry, and their popularity is a testament to the enduring appeal of personalized, intimate, and unique travel experiences.

Houseboat bed and breakfast in Amsterdam

Things to do in Amsterdam

No matter where you stay, you'll be able to find plenty of things to do in Amsterdam. The city is home to world-famous museums like the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. If you're a fan of art, Amsterdam is definitely the place for you. The city is also home to countless cafes, bars, and restaurants, so you'll never go hungry. And of course, no trip to Amsterdam would be complete without a visit to one of the city's famous coffee shops.

The top 6 things to do are:

  1. Visit the Anne Frank House
  2. Take a tour of the Heineken Brewery
  3. Go on a canal cruise
  4. Visit the van Gogh Museum
  5. Take a walk through the Vondelpark
  6. Visit the Rijksmuseum and take a tour

The 5 best bars to visit are:

  1. De Duivel
  2. Gollem
  3. In de Wildeman
  4. Café Hoppe
  5. De Prael

Some suggestions when in Amsterdam:

  • Take a canal cruise, a great way to discover Amsterdam!
  • Exercise caution while walking near canals to ensure your safety on potentially slippery surfaces.
  • Stay mindful of the abundance of bicycles in the city and be considerate of their right of way.
  • Help keep public areas clean by refraining from littering and avoid smoking in designated areas.
  • Familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations of the renowned coffee shops and respect them.

Booking a floating bed and breakfast

Whether you're looking for a traditional bed and breakfast or a floating houseboat B&B, Amsterdam has plenty of options to choose from. There's something for everyone in this historic city.

So what should you pay attention to when booking? The things to keep in mind when booking a bed and breakfast in Amsterdam include:

  • The location of the accommodation.
  • The amenities that are offered, like is a breakfast offered at all, and if yes, is it included in the price or available as paid option?
  • The price in comparison to the B&B, is it reasonable?
  • If you need a kitchen, check if a fully equipped kitchen is available, most bed and breakfasts are legally not allowed to have one.
  • It is also important to read reviews of bed and breakfasts before making the actual reservation. But always keep in mind that a review is a very personal and subjective point of view. What is great for one person might not be suitable for your needs and vice versa.

A bed and breakfast houseboat in Amsterdam is a great way to experience the city from a unique perspective. Houseboats are moored in the city's canals and therefore offer a comfortable and intimate setting for a romantic getaway or a family vacation. Many of the city's top attractions are within walking distance of the canals, making it easy to explore Amsterdam's bustling streets and lively nightlife.

Is it easy to start a bed and breakfast in Amsterdam?

There is no easy answer when it comes to starting a bed and breakfast. However, with hard work and dedication, it is certainly possible to be successful in this venture. There are a number of things to consider when starting a bed and breakfast, such as location, amenities, and marketing. It is important to do your research and make sure you are prepared for the challenges that come with starting a new business. As the municipality of Amsterdam has many very strict rules when it comes to opening a B&B. You also need to have a license and keep a strict administration. But it is definitely fun to run a B&B after you have conquered all the (legal) requirements! And you get a chance to host guests from all over the world and show them around in our beautiful city!

Have a great B&B stay in Amsterdam!

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