The work carried out on the Nieuwe Amstelbrug (bridge) in 1971 rendered the steel construction unreliable. The bridge was closed to traffic in 1983 for replacement. However, the neighbourhood residents lobbied for a complete reconstruction according to Berlage’s design. They were successful: during 1983-1986 the Nieuwe Amstelbrug was demolished and rebuilt in its entirety according to the original design. During the reconstruction, pedestrians and cyclists could cross the river by boat. ‘De Assistent’ (the boat) made about 75 crossings a day between the two banks of the Amstel (river).
The Nieuwe Amstelbrug (bridge), with the Volksvlijt Palace in the background (burned down in 1929)
The reconstruction used as many of the original bricks from the bridge as possible. The two types of natural stone that are used for the bridge are from the same quarry that supplied the stone in 1902-1903. Even the old original lamp posts from Berlage’s time were replaced by new ones that were made to look authentic.
A ferry passes while work is done on the bridge
Amsterdam has more than 1,500 bridges which makes it the city with the most bridges in the world. All the bridges are numbered. The bridge at the Muntplein (square) across the Singel (canal) is number 1. From that point, the numbers go in increasing order along the Singel and the canals in ever larger circles to the border of the city. The Nieuwe Amstelbrug is bridge number 101.
Icy fun on the Amstel, with the Nieuwe Amstelbrug in the background