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I started babysitting two (very cute) young Dutch boys not long after I moved to The Netherlands. Their parents wanted me to help with their English and they knew I would be grateful of the money so we came to an arrangement that I would babysit every couple of weeks. This was my first visit into a traditional Dutch household, which was really exciting! They had a beautiful, old house on one of the nicest canals in Leiden, with all the traditional features – high ceilings, thin rooms, horrendously steep staircases. It was also interesting to look at the clever and impressive design features which they had developed to maximise space in their house. Most traditional Dutch houses are tall and thin due to the high price of land in the middle ages, this meant that people built up instead of out. So in this family’s house, the two boys bedrooms were on the same floor, side by side. Both pretty small, and so to maximise the amount of floor space in both, the beds were build into the wall, and slotted together, one of top of the other but still in separate rooms. Does that make sense? It’s so clever I can’t even describe it! I also loved engaging with the children, but discovering the sense of Dutch design was really interesting to me.

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