Dutch stairs

My troubles with Dutch stairs

Since I have been in the Netherlands, I have troubles with stairs. I fell down  from the stairs of my house several times, the last one just yesterday: I slipped down and  I made the last five steps with the lower back. I can assure you that it was very painful. I remember when I took courses in Dutch language at the Italian Cultural Institute in Amsterdam: every day I was required to face six flights of stairs to go up and six to go down: it was a real delirium!

In particular it is very difficult to come down, because the step has almost always those 4 or 5 cm overhang that make the tread shorter compelling  you to put your feet back, something absolutely impossible and dangerous.

Dutch stairs

For this reason I have often reminded the suggestions of my teachers of composition and architectural design of the University of  Rome “La Sapienza” which were secured with Rule 2a + p = 63, where A is alzata-in height (16, 5 cm) and P is pedata-base (minimum 30 cm). Rule governs very different measures of  Dutch stairs, ranging from 20 to 30 cm., with an overhang of  less than 5 cm … that means the surface on which finally your foot is staying measures about 15 or 25 cm.. This seems to me to be inappropriate and unusefull!

Nowadays  you must have your compliance to save space, but you can do it even with ingenious solutions such as staggered staircase designed by Carlo Scarpa, one of the most famous Italian architects of the twentieth century, for the Museum of  Castelvecchio in Verona (Italy), as shown with different solutions in the pictures below.


In Dutch houses it is really hard descending stairs so we need to be very careful and follow the requirements of the case: use the handrail to steady yourself, the non-slip mats, illuminate the handrails etc.

Concluding, three recommendations:

  1. Turn on the lights when you go downstairs;
  2. Get off your feet to duck, as I learned when I arrived in the Netherlands;
  3. Go slowly, and always stick to the handrail, especially if you bring two children in your arms, as I often use to do …

This is also how I take the comments of my friends on facebook about the news: watch the step…,  STAY IN BELL … BE CAREFULL !!!


Luca Coppola
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