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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

Amsterdam photo(s) of the day: go home, Amsterdam, you’re drunk


Straight angles are not a required feature in the architecture of this city. I suspect the buildings don’t all fall over merely because they’ve got neighbors to lean on.







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  • bronxbee

    my house is doing the same thing, but has no neughbors to hold it up!

  • PJK

    Amsterdam is built on the reclaimed sea bed of the North Sea and the ground on which is sits is very soggy due to being between 2 and 3 meters below the sea-level. In order to compensate for the soggy ground most houses in Amsterdam are built on piles driven deep into the ground. This does help of course, but over the course of time even these poles tend to sink at different rates.

    I once read that the New York was built on ground that has similar properties (probably why we Dutch picked it for our first trading post in the America’s), so I’m not surprised that bronxbee sees similar things happening to her house.

    Did you know that the system of measuring sea level in Amsterdam (N.A.P.) forms the basis for the entire European Vertical Reference System used to indicate heights? The Dutch Wikipedia page on NAP has some interesting information and pictures on the history of this system (http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normaal_Amsterdams_Peil). This includes one where the coastline is shown if the water would have free reign (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Netherlands_compared_to_sealevel.png).

    I’m just glad to live in a part of The Netherlands that’s at least 20-30 meters above sea-level!

  • Is it?! Where is it leaning?

  • bronxbee

    my kitchen wall has definitely shifted and so has my door… it might not be obvious from the outside yet… but i know things are not where they were even a year or two ago…

  • bronxbee

    well, my part of NYC ithat is on the mainland and s on pretty solid bedrock… if i lived in lower manhattan… say, below 14th street, or anywhere along either river, that sort of shifting would be what was happening. i’m not sure what’s happening inmy place.

  • Yikes.

  • LaSargenta

    Has there been any construction work adjacent to your building lot? Or has any renovation been done in your building?

  • bronxbee

    hahaha… no. i cannot even get then to do repairs in my apartment… and there are no buildings actually physically adjacent… there is an alley way of about 15 feet separating my building from the nearest edifice on one side and a garage (not attached) and about another 30 feet to a building on the other side. it’s just a really old building and some settling may occur during flight.

  • LaSargenta

    Well, there’s actually a few things that *could* be going on…if you’d like me to do a little research on my end to see what might be in your block’s or building’s subsurface profile, MAJ has my e-mail. I’d need your street address. We have some pretty extensive files for NYC, can’t guarantee details about this exact block, but, you never know. Generally, your area (as I think I remember it) does have bedrock close to the surface, but there’s also a lot of ancient coastline/riverbank/littoral geography. Might be some soft stuff. Or a change in the groundwater table leading to neighborhood problems. (That happened in my nabe.)

  • bronxbee

    it would be cool, just information wise. i should check with other people who live in houses built in the same style at the same time period (around 1920) to see if there’s been much subsidance and when it happened. i’ve lived in the apartment for more than ten years (!) and i’ve really only noticed the worst of it in the last 4 years or so. of course, there was that earthquake in 2011, and hurricane sandy… i’m at one of the highest points in the bronx, other than the ridge in riverdale…

  • LaSargenta

    I’ve sent an e-mail to be forwarded to you.

    Sorry for making you a go-between, MAJ

  • Not a problem!

  • bronxbee

    yes, i got it. i’ll reply shortly, and yes, thanks MAJ.

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