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Amsterdam's Roofs and Hooks

Roofs & hooks

If you’ve ever seen the houses in Amsterdam you know that they’re narrow and tall and most have a hook hanging off the front of the building. Back in the day the top floor of these houses was used as a warehouse for various items. The hooks were installed to haul the goods straight to the top. They were also used to move other bigger items into the houses since the stairways are typically steep and narrow. Here we are some 400 years after many of these buildings were constructed with bigger and better furnishings and appliances. Which brings me to my harrowing Sunday refrigerator experience.

About two weeks ago the refrigerator at my expat friend’s house took a dive. The repair man came out and determined that it would be at least equally expensive to repair the fridge as to replace it. A week later the new fridge arrived but somehow no one considered that there was absolutely no way a fridge would make it up the stairs. Fast forward another week or so to yesterday, Sunday.

The landlord/owner arranged with the tenants to hoist and install the fridge at 1:00pm Sunday. After a nice late breakfast we headed to their house to clear a path and prepare for the adventure. I hadn’t planned on helping, only to photograph this unique experience but being the wonderfully helpful person I am I offered help as it was needed. Here is a quick step by step of how the scene played out:

Step 1: Climb across beams to hang the pulley and rope from the hook.

Step 2: Tie rope around refrigerator, position through the window, and send the boys down to manage the rope.

Step 3: Push the fridge, pull on the rope

Step 3 didn’t go so well. You see, the rope wasn’t tied around the top of the refrigerator. When we reluctantly gave the final push, the thing tipped over, swung back toward the house, took out a window, and landed below in a thousand pieces.

The four of us were completely shaken up and couldn’t believe what had just happened. Other than bruised hands from the ropes and such, we all came out unscathed. And the new refrigerator made it up in one piece.

The lesson I learned this weekend? Hire professionals. Movers can’t cost much more than a new window and four pair of soiled shorts.