Amsterdam Hotels Articles

June 11, 2010

Amsterdam – The City Of Bridges

Amsterdam’s unique position has made water and bridges to be of vital importance among the historic cities of the north. Along the banks of the river Amstel a city developed that depended on the water for its survival. At one time water was even more important than dry land. Water was the feature which allowed transportation of goods as well as keeping the enemy. Moreover it also added to the beauty of the city. It is quite apparent that due to these reasons Amsterdam is called the Venice of the North.

Amsterdam is a city of water and, naturally, of bridges. Amsterdam has no fewer than 1,281 bridges. Since the 17th century a maze of canals has divided downtown Amsterdam in 90 islands. There are hundreds of bridges which link the islands. The canals have made Amsterdam famous. It is quite apparent that the city has more canals than Venice and more bridges than Paris. Generally quite a few of the downtown bridges are romantically illuminated at night.

The history of Amsterdam may, can be looked upon as a history of bridges from a certain point. To begin with, wooden bridges were built, modeled on the type which was common in the Dutch countryside. They served to provide the needs of road traffic mainly in areas where the east-west connections were of vital importance. Their purpose was entirely practical. The main importance was given to function instead of form. The water was spanned by wooden beams which served as girders. Wooden planking across the beams created an acceptable road surface. Whenever the length of the span required extra support, one or more trusses – interconnected wooden beams reinforced by corbel pieces – were constructed.

The urbanization of the city with modern times and the increasing prosperity were instrumental in the development of the brick bridge. Brick came to replace wood and the arched bridge with its elegant masonry took over from its wooden predecessor which led to the idea that bridges were conceived of as integrated architectural designs. The advent of the brick arched bridge coincided with a more conscious approach to urban development. Bridges became an integral part of the ring of canals.

Bridges that cross Amsterdam’s canals are a wonderful spot for sightseeing: the channel, the tree lined streets, the daily life of locals, the typical houses along the water, the bicycles. On top of it they also provide beautiful scenic background for photos or a useful place to take photographs. There are so many famous bridges across the canals of the city. Every corner one turns one find another bridge leading as the city of Amsterdam calls to find more.

One of the more famous canal sights in Amsterdam is the lineup of seven consecutive bridges that can be seen gracing Reguliersgracht. The old city center of Amsterdam boasts a bridge from which one can see no fewer than fifteen bridges. One can enjoy this unique view from the bridge on the corner of Reguliersgracht and Herengracht. At night the spectacle is extra special, as the arched bridges are illuminated with hundreds of fairy lights.

One of the most important landmarks of Amsterdam is The Skinny Bridge or Magere brug. The fact remains that it is one of the most beautiful bridges of Holland’s capital city. The Skinny Bridge is romantically illuminated at night with thousands of fairy lights. It is very popular with lovers and photographers illuminated with hundreds of lights.

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