In a country that is surrounded by so much water as the Netherlands is, for canal houses the safest place to store goods was the attic. But Dutch houses from that time were built very tall and tight, and thus had narrow staircases. The stairs were therefore unusable for the transport of larger items. Another solution was soon found. You might have noticed metal hooks on the top of canal houses: a rope was tied to this hook, and so larger items could be pulled up to the upper floors. The slight forward tilt prevented heavy items from drifting and colliding with the facades.