English version: Floating cellar

A unique cellar

The stone-built merchant’s house is internationally renowned for its, almost unique, “floating cellar”, a watertight brick container, measuring 3 x 3 x 2m that floats on groundwater and therefore moves up and down. You can push your foot into the opening to the basement to make this ‘container’ move and hear the water splash.


Although, according to tradition, the house and basement were built by a sea captain who occasionally went to the basement to experience the feel of the sea again, the floating cellar is in fact an inventive engineering solution to cope with large changes in the level of the ground water.

The cellar was the coolest place in the house and was used for storing products such as beer, wine, vegetables, fruit and dairy. There are marks on the tiles where barrels of wine or beer have been dragged over the floor.

Dik de Roon – ‘Carried on water’: Floating cellars in and around Amsterdam

Click on the drawing the article published by the Royal Dutch Archaeological Association (KNOB) about floating cellars (in Dutch), or click here for a translation (without images).

Plattegrond en doorsneden drijvende kelder Herengracht