Magere Brug - Skinny Bridge
Famous bridge over the Amstel river
The Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge) is a bridge over the river Amstel that connects the banks of the river at Kerkstraat (Church Street), between Keizersgracht (Emperors' Canal) and Prinsengracht (Princes' Canal). The central section of the Magere Brug is a bascule bridge made of white-painted wood. The present bridge was built in 1934. The first bridge at this site was built in 1691 as Kerkstraatbrug and had 13 arches. Because this bridge was very narrow, the locals called it magere brug, which literally means "skinny bridge". In 1871 the state of the bridge was so bad that it was demolished and replaced by a nine-arched wooden bridge. Fifty years later this bridge also needed to be replaced. Architect Piet Kramer made several designs for a steel and stone bridge, but the city decided to replace it with a new bridge that looked the same as the previous, only slightly bigger. In 1934 the bridge was demolished and replaced by a redesign made by Piet Kramer. The last major renovation was in 1969. Until 1994 the bridge was opened by hand, but now is opened automatically. A story told to tourists about the origins of the 1691 version of the bridge is that it was built by two wealthy sisters who lived on opposite sides of the Amstel river and wanted to be able to visit one another every day (and were presumably too busy, or not in good enough health, to go the long way round via another bridge, of which there must surely have been at least one).