leaning houses

Visit Amsterdam with a private guide

Many houses in the city centre are leaning, like this group of houses on the Amstel. The city lies beneath the sea level, and the ground is very soft. Before we can build houses, we need to lay a foundation of piles. There are around 60 piles beneath a house, with a lenght between 12-20 meters. At a depht of 12 meters and again 20 meters there are sand layers. The piles are driven into the soil till they rest on the sand. In the past wooden piles were used, the city rests on 11 million piles. As long as those piles remained under water, they were like stone, but if the groundwater level changed, the piles started to rot. Hence the leaning.

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