LivingTravelPoezenboot (Cat Boat): a shelter for cats in a...

Poezenboot (Cat Boat): a shelter for cats in a houseboat

Cats and water are not the most conventional couple, as the owners of the Poezenboot (Dutch for “Cat Boat”) are the first to admit it. But take a step aboard this houseboat in the western Canal district, and you’ll find several dozen contented cats, oblivious to the water around them.

Animal shelters are not usually tourist attractions; Not only is it a hassle to bring pets abroad, but most major cities have shelters of their own, many of which have a similar institutional feel. The Poezenboot, however, has become a favorite destination for Amsterdam visitors thanks to its uniquely Dutch execution. Moored on the canal closest to the west of Amsterdam Central Station, the Singel, the Poezenboot is a shelter for cats located on a houseboat; It is another curious Dutch institution that visitors to cities without canals love to explore.

The Poezenboot allows visitors to meet a group of adorable cats, as well as satisfy their curiosity for houseboats, all for the price of a voluntary donation.

A water-based cat shelter on a historic canal

The Poezenboot was founded in 1966 when a cat lover who had filled his canal house with one stray after another realized he needed more space to accommodate his feline family. The first two cat boats were converted to sailboats, but when these were decommissioned, the current boat, the ‘Ark’ as it is called, was built specifically to meet the needs of cats, with an enclosed deck on the side. this, where cats can roam outside without fear of water.

Inside the boat, visitors will find a reception desk with helpful and informative volunteers, a table filled with pamphlets and other literature, as well as Poezenboot products. Right past the reception desk is the cat den, a spacious room filled with beds, bowls, cat boxes, and in one corner a veritable cat complex with spots to scratch, sleep, and examine the shelter. Visitors of all nationalities come to see the cats; Some have heard about the shelter through glowing reviews or articles like this one, while others are drawn inside by the telltale cat cut out on the ship’s roof, but all leave enchanted by the water-borne cats and their dedicated caretakers.

Note that the Poezenboot is only open a few hours per day (hours are listed below), so keep this in mind when planning your visit to this exclusively Dutch cat shelter. Visitors can combine their trip with an exploration of the food and fashion-filled Haarlemmerstraat, just northwest of the Poezenboot; In Singel itself, don’t miss house number 7 (on the east side of the canal), which is often said to be the narrowest house in Amsterdam.

Poezenboot Visitor Information

Opening hours

Mon – Tuesday and Thursday – Saturday, 1 – 3 pm

Admission fee

Voluntary donation

Go there

From the south exit of Amsterdam Central Station, cross Stationsplein towards Prins Hendrikkade and head west; cross the Singel (canal) and turn left to continue on the west side of the canal. The Poezenboot will be on the left side.

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