De Magere Brug


De Magere Brug across the Amstel river may be the most famous bridge in Amsterdam. It was built in 1934 and connects the river banks near the Kerkstraat. There has been a bridge in this exact location since 1691, when it was called the Kerkstraat bridge. At the time, the bridge was already called de magere brug or ‘skinny bridge’ because it was so narrow.

Foot-driven operation

The bridge has been renovated several times and until 1994 was opened and closed by two bridge operators. That was quite an art because the two bridge halves had to be perfectly aligned when they were closed. The operators achieved this by standing on the bridge halves and using their weight to set the balance. This practice was banned in 1994 and the bridge was fitted with a mechanical control system.


These days the bridge is best known for its beautiful appearance. Particularly at night, when the bridge is lit up by more than 1,800 lights and casts a fairytale reflection on the water. If you happen to be in the neighbourhood, you should definitely go and have a look.

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