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Interior layout

A Dutch building consisted of two connected sections, both residential and farming , which were independent in terms of communication. The building was usually situated along the riverbed (the majority of villages were located on the northern and southern banks of the Vistula) in an east-west line. The residential section was located on the eastern side of the house. This arrangement had practical reasons: in case of an inundation, the flood wave washed waste matter out from the farming section of the building and not into the residential part.

Although the residential interior, which normally had a two-bay and two-span layout, had many variants in the Dutch cottages in Mazowsze, it shows a certain repeatable pattern. The main entrance (from the yard) was located in the front wall and led to the hallway (that ran through entire house), which usually also served as a kitchen (this kitchen was used in the summer). In the second section of the house, the hallway was connected to another (winter) kitchen, which was separated from the summer one by a partition wall. The central part of the house (located at the intersection of the walls of four rooms) was occupied by the fire system, which included a wide bottle-shaped chimney sitting at the foundation level (with a czarna kuchnia - 'black kitchen', a bread oven and a smokebox), one or two stove tops, as well as heating stoves. The chimney was made of bricks, which were bonded with lime; the other elements of the fire system were made of bricks (in the older houses) or tiles. If a building contained more than two rooms, an additional stove was sometimes placed at the crossing of the internal walls. This stove was connected to the chimney via the smoke duct running over the ceiling. The residential interior was generally divided into four spaces: two kitchens and two rooms, which were situated around the fire system in the four-cell and two-bay arrangement. Having two kitchens was for the most part associated with the fact that a house was inhabited by two generations, and less often, by two families which ran the household either separately or jointly. Larger and wealthier houses had two additional rooms, which were located on the gable side of a building and served as representative rooms. These rooms, while unheated, were richly decorated - their walls were covered with colorful plant-like and geometric designs, as well as with regional landscapes painted directly on the wall beams. In such houses, the function of a hallway was limited and it served solely as a connecting corridor.

Due to the fact that the farming and residential functions were located under one roof, the residential section was separated from the farming one with a characteristic sluice: a hallway and two or three chambers (with doors arranged in an enfilade), which protected the kitchen and rooms from the transfer of dirt and inflow of undesirable smells. All spaces had windows: the windows in rooms and kitchens were large and rectangular with 4 or 6 windowpanes, whereas the chamber's windows were small and rhomboidal. The buildings had three entrances: one - used occasionally - was located in the gable wall, (usually with a window) with two other entrances in the longer walls.

A residential annex (for parents), which was usually added to the gable wall, was a common element of the oldest and wealthiest houses. In general, this part was not structurally connected to the main house, and occasionally even had a separate entrance. The internal wall connected the annex with the main structure of the house.

Part of the residential section always had a cellar. The entrance to the cellar was situated either outside (in the case where the cellar was large and deep - generally in houses from the turn of the 19th and the 20th centuries) or inside the building in a kitchen or a room (when the cellar was small and shallow - in older 19th century buildings). Walls of cellars were built of fieldstones or brick, and this space was used for storing the farming produce that was consumed on daily basis.

The entrance to the farming part of the building was located centrally between two spaces that functioned as a chamber and a storeroom on the western side of the hallway. Quite often, an entrance to the loft was located next to the entrance to the farming section. A single or double door opened into a space that served all functions, that is, a cowshed, a pigpen, a stable, a henhouse, and a barn. Through the middle ran a cobblestone or concrete corridor, which led to the barn (if it was a part of a building) or outside. Horse stalls were arranged on one side and cows occupied the other side; a pigpen was located at the end of this space. Next to the wall of one of the chambers, the settlers sectioned off a small henhouse. Chickens were able to leave the building through an opening that was cut out of the wall beam. A canal that carried out liquid manure was located next to the passage. If the farming section was of a considerable size, the inhabitants furnished it with a crosswise corridor with a space for fodder preparation. Therefore, this part usually had a water source. As a rule, the cowshed had at least three doors, which were located in the long walls and in the gable wall of the building. These doors were used to lead livestock out of the building and to remove manure.

The barn was located behind the cowshed. It had either a centrally located threshing floor and two storage spaces, or a threshing floor on the cowshed side and a storage space on the gable side of the building. However, in some instances a building did not have a barn. If this was the case, a loft situated over the residential and the cowshed parts served this function. The barn had a different structure than the cowshed; therefore, in some cases, these two parts were not connected with an internal door. In this case, hay and straw were transported through an opening in the cowshed ceiling.

Settlers frequently added an annex to the western gable wall and used it as a woodshed, a storage space, or even a coach house. If the annex was planked, it had a door that was facing the yard.

The loft was an important element of the building. It often had considerable size and large volume due to the queen-king post and pointing sill structure of the roof. As mentioned previously, the loft could function as a barn; however, it also had a different and extremely important purpose. In times of flooding, this was the place where inhabitants stored their belongings, livestock and also sheltered themselves. There are two buildings in Nowy Troszyn, which still have wide, solidly built stairs that were used to lead animals upstairs. Moreover, the loft was not only used as a year-around storage area for some of the agricultural produce, for instance, seed grain, but also as an additional living space, especially if the family was big or a wealthy owner needed a lot of servants.

Such a layout allowed for the optimization of all farming activities and, at the same time, for the protection of the inhabitants' belongings in case of flood. This traditional arrangement was not even influenced by the erection of high flood-banks, which limited the danger of flooding, and remained unchanged until the colonists' displacement after World War II.

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