All you ever wanted to know about living on a houseboat in Groningen

The only thing I knew about boats when I moved onboard was that I wanted to live on one.

Living on land can get a bit boring, so why not move into a houseboat since we have so many in Groningen? I have a a few reasons why living onboard is much more fun and a totally different experience. However, I will also tell you some facts people are anxious to know when they hear about the typical Dutch boat life. Even quite a number of Dutch citizens have never lived on a houseboat and are curious about the living situation.


What are the perks of living on a houseboat?

  1. You never hear your neighbors and they never hear you

You do not hear neighbors on the stairs, you do not hear the loud music or television, you do not notice them at all. It is convenient if you are a student and like to party or have friends over. Some houses have really thin walls and you can hear your neighbors talk. It can be interesting, but it can be also annoying.

  1. You feel free and have a great view

I just love the freedom a boat gives you. Every morning I wake up, I see the the water and the sun glitter. Sun glitter is a sparkling light formed when the sunlight reflects from water. It is just magical and makes my day a bit brighter or at least helps me to get out of bed easier.

  1. You can sit outside whenever you feel like it

Sitting on the raft is as relaxing as going on vacation. Another outstanding feature: when the sun shines it is way warmer on the raft than in the rest of the city. I don’t think I have to talk about water reflection and the degree differences. But yes: the reflectivity of a water surface makes most objects hotter. Therefore, sitting on the raft and enjoying the sun is an enormous upside which a boat life provides you. Even though it is cold outside it is always a pleasure to sit on the raft in a thick jacket and enjoy a drink.

  1. You will never have any trouble falling asleep (unless you get seasick easily)

If you have troubles falling asleep, you will love living on a boat. The boat will rock you into sleep. I have to say, it can be really windy and you may get the opposite effect. It can be really shaky, but I have to say that I love it. I think it is great when the boat shakes and everything else is quiet.

  1. You will always have an icebreaker

There might be a moment where you do not know how to start a conversation. Just tell them that you live on a boat and you will have something to talk about. Many people are interested and it is a fun and easy way to start. This was obviously not the reason I moved on a houseboat, but it is always good to know.


These are some peaks of living on a boat, but many people also have concerns about the life on a boat. I wrote down the most common and funniest questions I heard so far.

Aren’t you afraid to sink?
To be honest I did not waste much thought on it. After almost everyone who visited me asked that question, I did some research. I found out that a houseboat would take about 50 tons of water to sink. Therefore, I see myself save and I think even in the unlikely event of a leak, it would take a long time.

How does it work when you go to the toilet?
I know everyone ask this question, because everyone is super curious. All the time. We are, in fact, connected to a funny thing called a ‘sewage pipe’. Sounds great, right? It is actually pretty convenient. But on the other hand, I much prefer to let people believe that we have to bring our business outside in a bucket by ourselves like in the middle ages.

What will you do if you have to evacuate the boat?
Well, that answer is as simple as it can get. Our evacuation plan is to just jump right in the water. I mean can it be any safer and faster? People do not believe it, but in case of an emergency we would definitely do it. Let us hope for the best though!

Do you have warm water or at least a heater?
Yes, and yes. We even have electricity. I know it is hard to believe, right? It feels like living in a normal house. There are just a few differences and you do not even notice them. We have all the common equipment which provides the feeling of a usual living situation in a house.

All in all, living on a houseboat is a great experience and I enjoy every second of it. Honestly, summer is a bit more fun than the winter time, but every season has its own advantage. If you ever feel like wanting to witness the Dutch experience, you should definitely try living on a boat. Do not forget about the breathtaking sunsets while enjoying a few drinks on the raft. A houseboat is a great place for everyone!

By Alica Olsson

One comment

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