While we're having technical difficulty with Kristin's latest post, we thought we'd take a gem out of her vault. Enjoy!
Flora is a lucky girl. The 23-year-old graduate student lives in a palatial two-bedroom converted warehouse loft in the center of Amsterdam, thanks to anti-squat laws that are a loophole for renters in search of cheap, temporary accomodations.
To prevent squatters from moving into unoccupied buildings that are scheduled to be torn down or renovated, the Dutch have invented an anti-squat law that allows landlords to rent apartments for a flat fee of �150 a month, all charges included, regardless of size or location...
The renters basically act as guardians of the property and know that they could be booted out with two weeks� notice at any time. In Flora�s case, this means she has the keys to a roomy flat in a former 17th-century warehouse (albeit slightly marred by a 1980s conversion) with a lovely canal view.
Flora expects to spend a couple of years here in total. But because she knows her days are limited and she is on a student budget, she has furnished the place entirely with flea market purchases, hand-me-downs and street finds. �In Amsterdam we�re not allowed to have yard sales,� Flora says. �So people just leave all kinds of things on the street.�
Flora has met this challenge with style -- found hanging light fixtures are hung low, vintage orange tableware and a bar cart perk up the 80s kitchen, flea market art adorns the vast brick wall running the length of the flat. Everything is temporary, but the place has a very personal and lived-in feel. And she can take it all with her when it's time to go.
- If you have an idea for a European house tour, please email Kristin at kristinh @ apartmenttherapy . com
(RePublished from 2007-09-24 - MGR)