My Dutch Apartment

The good news is: we moved! The bad news is: we’re offline again! It may be a week or so before we can get the Dutch equivalent of the cable guy over to our new place. Meanwhile, if you’re in Delft looking for free Internet, try any of the following: Coffee@Company and Bagels&Beans in the market square, the DOK, or the Tourist Information Office.

Renting our Dutch apartment was not an experience I hope to have twice. Right up until the moment we were handed keys, I had a strong fear that the entire process could just fall through. It was characterized by a lack of details, bad translations, and ultimately well-meaning Dutchmen. But Friday was worth it. Around lunchtime, we had just finished signing some more paperwork (in Dutch. We kept asking what each page said. The agent would say, “It doesn’t mean anything; it is just papers.” And we would say, “But what does it SAY?” Ah, the joys.) and I had picked up two sandwiches and was riding down our street when I saw a truck blocking the road and a man carrying a chair across the street. A chair that looked very much like… one of my own dining room chairs!

Our things appear in the alley

The movers! “That’s my chair!” I said happily. The movers were even a little ahead of when we expected them, and soon there were stacks of boxes and loose objects everywhere. They assembled the dining room table, unpacked a few of the boxes we singled out, and were on their merry way. Less than two hours after that, we took the delivery from IKEA (there’s an IKEA in Delft) of the mattress and bed frame we’d ordered. It was a good day.

I began unpacking kitchen boxes. It was rather like a bridal shower, where you’ve picked out most of the items yourself but are still happy and surprised when you open them. “Oh, I love this color!” “What a beautiful dish!” “I forgot about that!” There was something about seeing all our things from home that made me feel with a new certainty that we LIVE here. We couldn’t just put it all in a suitcase and go home. This is where daily life is now. It was a strange feeling.

Nothing we shipped broke, that we know of so far—except for a decanter I broke myself, unwrapping it. We decided that decanter was jinxed anyway. For our wedding we received three of it, identical. We gave one away, since three seemed superfluous. Immediately following that, we chipped one while washing it. Oh well; we still had the third. Which I just broke. So, that’s the end of the three matching decanters.

The nonbreakage of our glass and dishware was mostly due to the ludicrous amount of paper that went into the packing. Gentle Giant did a great job, but it’s hard not to feel guilty about all this waste we’re left with. Paper recycling pickup is tomorrow. I think we’re going to test them by putting out a few boxes and seeing how much they’ll take….

It's a wok!

Our apartment is beautiful, in my opinion. It’s on the second and third floors of a building in which the ground floor is a daycare. So in the morning we hear kids being dropped off, but they’re gone by the evening and not open on weekends. On the second floor is our bedroom (large!), a laundry room (without a washer currently), and our two-part bathroom. We saw this in a couple apartments here: the toilet is in its own room, and then the rest of the bathroom is in another room. Curious. The one thing all this space lacks is closets. We bought a wardrobe with a clothes bar in it, but we need somewhere to put coats and more hang-ables. Any creative tips, other small-apartment dwellers?

The third floor is sunny and warm, with a spacious open kitchen and living area. We can see the big canal out our windows (boats!), and when I cook I’m not in a dark galley setup! Amazing. Plus, for the first time, I have a gas stove range. Stand back. We don’t have an oven—I think I’ve mentioned that’s common here. We’re going to buy one, probably a smaller-scale one that just plugs into an outlet. We went and looked at them on Saturday but it was kind of overwhelming and the price really ran the gamut, so I couldn’t make a decision. There’s a door on the third floor that opens out onto a little roof deck where we can enjoy the views and the sunshine (seasonal).

Living area--little steps go to roof deck; canal is visible out the far windows

It’s funny that we’re so close (just a few streets) to our temporary digs, but our view is quite different. Here we see the canal but then past that, some modern buildings. In our first place everything we saw seemed frozen in time. The last night we were there I stood at the window, just taking in the views and knowing it had been a special place to spend our first two months. It even felt a little sad that the first chapter of our adventure here was over. But we are ready to get settled, too, and this is a much better place for that.

Cooking chili with American measuring implements!

There is still some work being done on the apartment. Because our landlord doesn’t speak much English, it’s a little unclear what the schedule is. There’s a spot on the bedroom wall that needs to be redone, and a broken light fixture in the laundry room. He said he would come at nine today, and he did. Since then he’s been… cleaning. He cleaned all the windows and blinds, scrubbed the hood over the stove, and now he’s downstairs doing I have no idea what (it involves hammering). I’m a little confused, but the cleaning is great. We’ll take some more photos when things are more established, and hopefully the bedroom work is done soon!



Filed under Our Dutch Adventure

13 responses to “My Dutch Apartment

  1. Andrea

    Ooh, that’s gorgeous, Meghan! Look at those floors! And those huge windows! (How on earth do people function without stoves, though?)

    Do you have space to put a coat rack by your front door? (Or a row of hooks?) That might be simpler for coats than trying to find space for another wardrobe.

    Have fun settling in!

  2. Lori

    The space looks beautiful. I LOVE the beams! I am so happy you have an address and your things have arrived. Phew. You are now home. xo

  3. Looks great Meghan. Really beautiful. Nothing like having your own stuff.

  4. We bought for our coats. It works well and holds quite a few coats! (we double up on most of the hooks)

  5. Katrina

    I love it love it love it!!! I know that feeling when stuff that had been packed away appears in a new place after living without for a bit.

    They can end up looking messy but a coat tree might be a good solution? I think you’ll find the shoe thing challenging too. Not sure what to do about those.

    So do people just live without ovens or is it like MA years ago when it wasn’t uncommon to rent a place with no refrigerator (had to provide your own)?

    I want come over and sit down with you and a big bowl of chili and catch up. All girl talky!! 🙂

    • unquiettime

      People here use these medium sized appliances that are a combo microwave and oven, like a microwave with a bake feature. Some Dutch friends had us over for dinner last week and baked a casserole-type dish in that kind of thing and it was definitely baked. It’s just smallish (I like to occasionally roast a large bird? or make more than a dozen cookies) and I am wondering how accurate they really are for baking temps, heat distribution. To be fair, I think some places have standard ovens and they’re not hard to find in stores. They’re just not a priority to a lot of people here, I guess.

  6. Linda

    Your apartment is beautiful in my opinion, as well! Have fun moving in.

  7. Jordan

    Looks like a great space! Does it have a fireplace? It seems like it should have a fireplace. Regardless, I bet you’re ecstatic to have all of your own things moved in. It’s like a huge care package … from yourselves. 🙂

    Elisa and I recently did some forced unpacking (Yes, we’ve been in our house for 14 months). She was looking for one particular glass dish. I opened and unpacked several boxes (maybe a dozen?), and where do you suppose it was? That’s right. In the very last box I opened. Oh well, we had several ‘oh-that’s-where-that-was’ moments. Plus, our garage is slightly less cluttered. On the downside, we were confronted with our surplus of dishes and kitchenware. So we may need to purge soon.

    I hope you guys are doing well. It’s always fun to check in with your blog and vicariously join you on your adventures.

    By the way, check paragraph 7, sentence 2. 😉 (Just giving you a hard time.)

  8. unquiettime

    Dang it, Jordan! I know you scour my blog for those…

  9. unquiettime

    ps. No fireplace (we were spoiled, though–we had one in our last two) but we DO have a Jacuzzi tub 🙂

  10. Joel

    And I thought the Dutch were famous for their ovens.

  11. I love how triumphant you look with your wok! And I love your apartment, and I totally want to invite myself over for coffee. Alas.

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