Most of Amsterdam’s canals only carry pleasure boats. However the Amstel still plays an important commercial role, carrying small cargo to the port of Amsterdam.
It is worth a walk along the river to see the barges going to and gro, and the workings of Amsterdam’s famous double-leaf drawbridges as they pass by.
The busy Blue Bridge (Blauwbrug) is a flamboyantly decorated structed built in 1883 and has been modeled on the Pont Alexandre III in Paris. Look over the bridge’s side to see its boat-shaped piers, or for the best view take a sightseeing boat. The bridge has ornate lampstands, topped with the imperial crown of Amsterdam’s coat of arms. The lamps are painted bright blue, in keeping with the original blue wooden bridge on this site.
More famous is the neighbouring Skinny Briad (Magere Brug), which appears on so many photos of the city of Amsterdam.
There has been a narrow, or skinny, bridge here for over 300 years. The name is probably a reference to its original width, that allowed barely more than 1 person at a time to cross.
The present version was erected in 1969 and it is the only wooden bridge in the city. Repair takes place every couple of decades. There are about 1400 bridges in Amsterdam, but for some reason this is the one of that has excited the imagination. It’s particularly a wonderful sight lit by night.
Did you know?
Back in 1838, a German pastor recorded in his travel diary about Amsterdam’s canals …
The person who visits the city wrapped in blue mist, and in the autumn breathes its unpleasant odours, will conclude with no second throughts, that this is the least healthy place in the world.
Of course, this is no longer the case and a city break in Amsterdam is now one of the most popular European short breaks.