Monumental buildings used to be quite rare in the Netherlands. It’s true, almost each old town has a nicely decorated town hall, a weigh house and a main church (we will come back to these later). However, I think Dutch creativity mainly manifested itself in the cute houses that are the pride of each historical center. Usually they have big windows, a necessity in a country where the sun is a rare guest. They are quite small (especially outside Amsterdam) and in most cases they have only 3-4 tiny rooms, with horribly narrow stairs (I think climbing these stairs is the local answer to Russian roulette). It must be because of the high price of land in such a small country, and perhaps also as a consequence of the Protestant emphasis on modesty. They are however extremely well maintained and carefully restored, so they usually look brand new, no matter what their age is. The small size gives them a toy-like charm, enhanced by a creative use of color contrasts: they look bright and shiny even on the cloudiest day. Here are a few of my favorites.