The Washington PostThe Washington Post

In Amsterdam, floating homes show the world how to live alongside nature

By Shira Rubin

17 Dec 2021 · 11 min read

SCHOONSCHIP, Amsterdam - Marjan de Blok readjusts her body weight as she treads across the jetties linking a floating community on the River IJ. Her cheeks and nose are elfin red from the whipping winds. She shouts greetings to many of her neighbors, her voice carried by the water all around.

In October, heavy rains, hail and 50 mile-an-hour winds put Amsterdam on alert, just a short ferry ride away. But in the northern neighborhood of Schoonschip, life carried on mostly as usual. De Blok visited with neighbors to gossip and get updates on the local smart grid - which enables residents to generate and share energy with each other and the country - all while overhead lamps swayed and the homes glided up and down their steel foundational poles with the movement of the waters below.

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