Canalside Parking – How Many CCs Can You Identify?


These pictures were taken in Amsterdam in June 1975. I had just arrived on an overnight flight from Canada, and I was pretty zonked out. A boat tour of Amsterdam seemed like a good way to spend the afternoon. Canals crisscross the heart of the city, and have a profound effect on how people live, the local architecture, and even parking. They’re often are lined by narrow streets, and everyone parks on their edges. There’s not much to prevent cars from rolling into the water (or even being pushed in by someone desperately looking for a parking spot), so the local fire department is tasked with fishing out dozens (if not hundreds) of very soggy vehicles from the bottom each year. I was told that if there’s someone in the car, the service is provided free, but there’s a hefty charge if the car is empty!


Note the beam sticking out from the window header on the top floor of the building on the left. Houses in Amsterdam are tall and narrow, and internal staircases are narrow and steep. So these beams are tipped with a pulley, and this contraption is used to hoist large pieces of furniture to the various intermediate floors using ropes, via the large windows. I understand that even pianos can be hoisted in this way. The arrow houses resulted from taxes, back in the 16th century, that were partly based on the width of the house. Even then, developers were quick to exploit any loopholes.

I’ve been able to identify many of the cars in the pics, but the little white coupe in the third picture has me stumped. It looks like a Fiat 850 coupe, but the scallops around the inboard auxiliary lights don’t seem to match. I’m sure someone out there will be able to help.