Amsterdam is famous, amongst others, for its exquisite and weird architecture. It’s almost impossible to miss the elegant houses that line the city’s numerous canals along with their narrow and ornate façades. Some of them are so old, that are considered being national treasures. The Smallest House in Amsterdam, called Het Kleinste Huis in Dutch, is one of the most notable examples, claiming to be the narrowest of them all. Fortunately, you can find out yourself since it’s open to the public, offering a wide range of pastries, cakes, teas and ceramics.
Is it really the narrowest house in Amsterdam?
Located at Oude Hoogstraat 22, in the historical heart of Amsterdam, the three-storey miniature house comes with the typical bell-shaped gable on top. Firmly squeezed between the East India House and the gate to Walloon Church, this rather unusual building is 2.02 metres wide and 5 metres deep. Thus, with a total surface area of just 9 square metres, it’s safe to say that this is not only the tiniest house in Amsterdam but also the smallest tea room in the city! The owner, Niels, being polite and attentive, always enjoys recounting the history of the house which dates back to 1738.
Did you know?
Most of Amsterdam’s narrow houses were built during the Dutch Golden Era when taxes were calculated by the length of a building’s façade. Therefore, constructing a house across several floors with a narrow facade and relatively big depth was a creative way to avoid getting highly taxed.
High tea at The Smallest House
Once you are inside the house, you will be immediately greeted by the luscious aroma of tea. The shop is located on the ground floor whereas the second and third floors are tiny tea rooms, each one accommodating only one table.
A steep spiral staircase led us upstairs as we were already wondering how we could actually fit in such a small space. The beautifully decorated room was prepared just for us – a table for four, a great range of sweet delights and tea specialties. The walls were full of pictures of the building from bygone days.
Your experience will begin by picking your tea. Niels brought some jars from the shop downstairs and provided recommendations. All of them, being freshly brewed, smelled and tasted perfect but “the smallest house blend” really stood out from the rest. Several traditional Dutch deserts followed; apple pie, scones with jam & clotted cream and Boterkoek (butter cake). Everything was homemade and we couldn’t stop eating – the apple pie was literally to die for.
The intimate settings of the tea room, the authentic tastes coming straight from the shop’s kitchen and the beautiful details made our visit to The Smallest House in Amsterdam a truly memorable experience.
The smallest shop in Amsterdam
The shop downstairs is a tea lover’s heaven. It offers a wonderful assortment of organically grown loose tea blends in all flavours, ceramic accessories and sets, packaged tea and several delicacies to satisfy your sugar cravings – fudges, honey, liqueurs, nougats and chocolate.
Amongst them, one can find the alleviating Greek mountain tea, the refreshing Assam and Darjeeling teas as well as the exotic Moroccan mint and hibiscus variants. Such unique gifts to take back home!
History of The Smallest House in Amsterdam
What this building lacks in size it makes up for it in history. Being a national heritage site it’s worth highlighting some key moments in its long lifetime.
The life of The Smallest House in Amsterdam began in the 18th century; it was built sometime between 1733 and 1738; that was the first time it was mentioned in the city’s official archives. Amsterdam city, owning this slim slice of land, most probably used the plot to build a small flour house and paid taxes for it.
In 1742, the house was rented to the watchmaker Jan Tenking for 150 guilders per year. Having to squeeze inside just one tiny floor must have been rather impractical!
On the 20th century and more specifically in 1938 The Smallest House in Amsterdam was the shop of an optometrist. During the sixties, it has been transformed into a beautiful boutique called “The Little Mirror” (Het Spiegheltje). The year is now 1991 and the smallest flower shop in Amsterdam called “The Green House” (De Serre) has taken the place of the boutique. After about a decade, in 2002, the tiny house is converted to a residence. Finally, on 15th June 2014, The Smallest House in Amsterdam opened its doors to the public after 276 years, having hosted in the meantime several shops and residences. The current owners have done a great job converting the house to a tea room, documenting its whole history and showcasing it to the visitors.
It is worth squeezing into The Smallest House in Amsterdam?
This real-life dollhouse invites you to take some time to cool off and spend quality time with friends and family in a cosy environment. The refreshing smell of tea and the traditional home-baked delicacies make a visit to The Smallest House in Amsterdam one of the best things to do during a rainy afternoon.
So, what are you waiting for? Indulge yourself with a high afternoon tea session in a little peaceful retreat while observing the busy Red Light District of Amsterdam from above.
Know before you go
Nope, the title of the smallest house in the world goes to the Keret House in Warsaw; it has a width of 152 cm at its widest point and a floor area of just 4,1 square metres.
You may visit the tea room daily, from 07:00 to 19:00, only by appointment.
Date Visited: January 2018
Price: Starting from € 15 p.p. for a set menu
Official Website: Het Kleinste Huis
Booking: Required for private tea rooms
Good For: Breakfast, Brunch, High Afternoon Tea
The smallest self-contained house in Amsterdam invites you to try refreshing tea blends in a rather unusual and intimate environment.
Please note that this post is not sponsored or endorsed in any way. Miles with Vibes claims no credit for any images posted on this article; they are copyright to their respectful owner, The Smallest House in Amsterdam.