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The street in front of the Beje is called the Barteljorisstraat.
The Barteljorisstraat is located in the "crowded center of old Haarlem. The street is lined with shops which, in addition to the ten Booms' watch shop, include an optician's office, a dress shop, a baker, and a furrier company. There is also a second watch shop on the street, run by Mr. and Mrs. Kan. The buildings on the Barteljorisstraat are for the most part a few stories high and built closely together. The Beje itself is typical, having three stories, and being two rooms deep and only one room wide. At the same time, the Beje is also unique because, "at some unknown point in its long history," it had been joined with the "even thinner, steeper house in back of it." The two dwellings are connected by a narrow corkscrew staircase, and the result is quite a labyrinthine affair, perfect for the construction of a secret hiding place.
The Beje has a front door that opens onto the Barteljorisstraat. The customers' part of the shop is at the front of the building on the ground floor, and from the window hundreds of clocks can be seen. The Beje also has a side door that opens onto a tiny alleyway; this is the door that the family uses to enter and exit the house.
Although there are windows in the various rooms of the Beje, it is difficult to see the sky from them, because the surrounding buildings are packed so closely together. The windows for the most part open onto brick walls, the backs of adjacent buildings, but if one looks straight up, "above the crazy roofs and crooked chimneys," a "square of pale pearl sky" can be seen (Chapter 1).
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