Where previously there was sand, gravel and animal feed, now there is a large living room with underfloor heating, a spacious bedroom including a walk-in closet and a bathroom. Anneke and Wim Robbertsen converted a cargo ship into a houseboat of 160 square meters.
People visiting Anneke Robbertsen's houseboat Robbedoes and her husband for the first time do not know what they are seeing. Robbertsen: "Guests are often flabbergasted. Our 34-meter ship is fully equipped: a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom with a walk-in closet. Everything you have in a house on shore. Visitors find it very special that we have our dream have achieved. "
Six years ago the idea came to live on the water. After they sell their self-designed and detached home in Woudenberg, they look for a houseboat that meets their needs.
"This cargo ship from 1960 was still in use for transporting sand, gravel and animal feed. It was love at first sight. The ship has beautiful round lines and was well finished. This type is also called the Porsche among the ships. "
They have already found a berth on the river Eem in Amersfoort, only there is a small 'but'. "The cargo ship was 21 meters too long for our berth. As a layman you think: it won't be. Then we found out that shipyards could shorten a ship like this. Our houseboat was cut into three parts, the middle part was cut out and everything was welded together again. Now the ship fits exactly on the berth. "
Photo: Anneke and Wim Robbertsen on their ship.
Old ship's wall as a room divider
The couple make the design for their home in the former cargo hold and their ship is rebuilt for nine months with the help of specialized companies. Since September 2016 they live on the Spirou.
"You can no longer see the original ship walls, because everything is insulated and finished. To make the living room a little cozier, we have turned an old piece of ship wall into a cream divider. That worked out really well."
Everywhere in the ship you have a view of the water. "In the living room we had a large round window made 10 centimeters above the waterline. From the couch we see the ducks and coots swimming past. In the living room there are also two long, curved skylights, which gives us a beautiful light "
Photo: The kitchen of Anneke and Wim Robbertsen.
Wooden gangway transformed into wall furniture
The kitchen is the favorite place of Robbertsen and her husband. "Even before we bought the ship, we already knew that the kitchen had to be placed on the upper deck. This way you get the most out of daylight and you have the ultimate water experience. Our round table is one of the eye catchers: we made it from a cable reel an old iron drawing table leg. "
Robbertsen's heart starts beating faster when reusing things. "A lot of our furniture has a story. For example, I turned the old wooden gangway of the ship into a wall unit and an old wooden paddle now serves as a handrail. And the lamp in the bedroom? These are old work poles from the engine room. "
“Living on the water gives a feeling of freedom. It's like you're on vacation every day ”
Bed and breakfast on board
The ship can be disconnected from the shore within fifteen minutes. "That feeling alone is fantastic. Last year we sailed through Belgium for three weeks and this year we are sailing to Brouwersdam in Ouddorp, where we are going to enjoy Concert at Sea. We also want to do dry weather on the mudflats again. We can so to speak, live somewhere else every week. "
The old skipper's house at the back of the ship is now used as a bed and breakfast run by Robbertsen. "We have left this part of the ship as much as possible in its original state and decorated in the authentic sixties style. In the morning I provide a breakfast in the wheelhouse."
A couple of years ago the couple didn't even have a boat license, now they don't think they will ever want to live in a stone house again. "Living on the water gives a feeling of freedom. It's like you're on vacation every day."
Do you want to see Anneke and Wim Robbertsen's houseboat? At the beginning of June they are a guest ship at the Architecture Center in Amsterdam and the Maritime Museum in Rotterdam to give tours on their ship. Keep an eye on their Facebook for more info and data .