Amsterdam Fairy Tale


Ever wonder what it’s like to live under the steep, sloping eaves of a 17th century house in the heart of Amsterdam?  It’s a lot of stairs, let me tell you.  But once you’re up there, you’re in a storybook.  You expect Peter Pan to land on the window sill at any moment (well, that would be London, but anyway….)img_7789_2

Take a peek into my friend Ruth’s apartment in the Bejignhof, an enclosed courtyard originally built as a sanctuary for a Catholic sisterhood. The houses are still reserved for occupancy by single women (male visitors allowed, not to worry).

The place is small but airy, on the building’s top two floors.  She uses the lower (below top) as living/kitchen/office, and the upper (below bottom) as a bedroom.


The Bejignhof’s stunning houses are mostly from the 1600s, but they also include Amsterdam’s oldest surviving house, Het Houten Huis, from around 1420 (right). The Bejignhof is actually one of Amsterdam’s top tourist attractionsbegijnhof_het_houten_huis; the courtyard is open daily from 9-1.

Ruth, a classical musician who hosts an eclectic, rockin’ Sunday-morning internet radio show, Meeting Point at 8:30AM Eastern time, is an American who’s lived in the Dutch capital for many years (you can access both the show and the chat room at

img_7790_2Yes, she knows how lucky she is.

About cara

I blog for fun here at casaCARA, and write about architecture, interiors, gardens and travel for many national magazines and websites. My recently published posts and articles can be found here:
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One Response to Amsterdam Fairy Tale

  1. coppermaven says:

    Unfortunately that beautiful chestnut tree shown out side the window and in the middle of the courtyard succumbed to the same disease as the tree next to the Anne Frank house. Unlike Anne Frank’s tree, this one was allowed to die a dignified death and was lovingly removed by some very hot Dutch tree specialists. The privacy and shade to brought to Ruth’s home is no longer and she has added some lovely new drapes.

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