Amsterdam’s biggest bridge

The Dienst der Publieke Werken (Office of Public Works) was responsible for the technical design of the bridge and Berlage for its architectural design. The Berlagebrug (bridge) was opened on 28 May 1932 amidst great interest. At the time it was not only the bridge that was furthest from the city centre, but it was also the biggest bridge in Amsterdam at 80 metres long and 24 metres wide.

 

Postcard, grand opening Berlagebrug (bridge), 28 May 1932

Symbolism

As usual, Berlage concentrated on the decorative finishing and the symbolism of the bridge. The large towers in the centre support a four metre tall sculpture of the Genius of Amsterdam rising out of the water. The designer of the ceramic plates is Hildo Krop. At the time the colours of the stone varieties that Berlage used were highly visible: grey natural stone, yellow Bavarian granite, red cobbles and green tiles.

 

View of the Berlagebrug, probably 1930s

The Canadians enter the city

On 5 May 1945 the Second World War officially ended, but confusion reigned in the days thereafter. On 7 May, the day that a British reconnoitring unit reached the city borders of Amsterdam, people were still dying and being wounded on the Dam (square). The real end of the war came to Amsterdam on 8 May when a large land force of Canadians entered the city across the Berlagebrug.

 

Liberation, entrance Canadians, 8 May 1945. Photo: Charles Breijer / Nederlands Fotomuseum