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"A complete home, holiday sized"

The Weerribben nature reserve is home to the unusual holiday accommodation of Petra and Rob Gérard. They had a modern houseboat built in 2002, along the narrow and hard-to-find ‘Muggenbeet’ road. The couple escapes from the daily bustle as often as possible in this peaceful location on the water.

‘There was an old houseboat here first, it wasn’t worth much anymore. That’s why we were looking for other options pretty soon. Petra and Rob knew architect Arnoud Olie and they asked him to design a new houseboat. The couple knew what they wanted; lots of glass, sliding doors and a modern look. They were not looking for a typical houseboat in the style that is typical for the area. ‘In this region, you see a lot of farmhouses with thatched roofs. We immediately said: ‘We don’t want that.’

The houseboat is designed to make practical use of every square metre. On the ground floor are the living room, kitchen and toilet. The lower floor is below the water level and has a bathroom and three bedrooms. During warm summers, you can sleep very well here. ‘The benefit is that it’s nice and cool downstairs. And in the morning you are woken up by the sloshing water of the passing boats. Then you think, “Oh yes, it’s time to wake up again.” The boat is small but Petra does not miss anything: ‘We have everything we need on board. It’s smaller than a normal house, but that makes it very cozy.’

Petra and her husband immediately loved this remarkable design. The houseboat shines in all its simplicity because of the use of robust materials, such as glass, steel and wood. Sliding doors open on all sides of the living room, which allows the inside and outside to blend with each other perfectly. Arnoud Olie designed steel shutters, which open and close at one’s wish, on three sides of the house to create extra space. They form extra patios around the house. ‘We thought it was a really fun idea. The boat is about 9 metres long and 4.5 metres wide, that isn’t very spacious. The shutters make it look a lot bigger.’ When the shutters are closed, the boat transforms from an open house made of glass to a closed object. ‘When everything is closed it looks like a grey container. But when the shutters are down, it comes alive. You can see right through the home.’

For more information, visit the project page.