Our canal house in LEGO

We live in a canal house on Singel 77 in Amsterdam. The gable (facade) says 1744, but that is a relatively recent addition. Details in construction suggest it is about 450 years old, and we know it existed in 1583 (we have been able to find all owners since then, see "de geschiedenis van ons huis" (in Dutch).

The LEGO model was built in 1995, and includes realistic Amsterdam details like the dog-poo on the street (a great use for the new brown LEGO colors!), our cats Charlie and Gorby (deceased since), and two chairs on the lower floors where the prostitutes receive customers. We own the top 3 floors only, and the rightmost door is the one to take if you want to visit us, rather than them.

In this Legoland-style model, I used various parts to break up the top of the gable and give it the sculpted look. The 4 studs on left and right are in reality the text: ANNO 1744. The green pattern at the top is a sculpted gablestone of a soldier shooting off a canon, with the text "'T DUIJTS CANNON" (The German Gun); we now know after some research in the municipal archives that this gable stone was put into a different house just after 1660 by the city cannoneer Alexander Coster as "'T FRANS CARTOU", then rehacked around 1711 to its present name by Pieter Mansveld (a German seaman), and moved to the present location in 1744 by a famous clockmaker Anthoni van Oostrom, who owned both houses.

People are especially impressed by the stained glass windows, which I made from car headlights, and by the bannisters on the steps. Both help to make the model very convincing, and has converted more than one layperson to the LEGO religion!

front of LEGO model back of LEGO model

I don't have detailed instructions, but here is a drawing on LEGO paper. Here are pictures of our real house. And a site on 'safe living' was interested in the Lego house (in Dutch). In 2007, it appeared in a book "Maak indruk op je kinderen", publisher Uitgeverij Snor.

There are other people making canal houses out of Lego.

email: leo@science.uva.nl