Amsterdam has had organised public transport since 1839, the year in which the bus started services for the first time. It was a large carriage pulled by one or more horses. The bus offered places for twelve to twenty passengers and plied a fixed route at set times at a standard tariff. In 1873 the idea arose to run the busses on rails. However, this plan did not go down well in all quarters: many people foresaw all sorts of problems and dangers in the narrow Amsterdam streets and alongside the canals.


Alleyway between Overtoom 373 and 375 with the former AOM stables, 1994

First line

The planners ignored the objections and went ahead with their plans. In 1875 the first rails and carriages were ordered and the first route, the Leidscheplein-Plantage, was laid in three months under the supervision of Van Gendt. The festive opening was on 2nd June. Unfortunately a carriage came off the rails during the very first trip, though everything else worked well. The pessimists were proven wrong and the people of Amsterdam made good use of the tram.


Signalman for the AOM horse tram


The ‘Bremerlehe’ depot started being used in 1877. The municipality took over the horse drawn tram company and the possessions of the AOM and electrified the tram network. The depot was rented to the Amsterdamsche Rijtuigen Maatschappij (Amsterdam Coachbuilding Company). The complex was thoroughly renovated in 2003 and was turned into a residential and office complex. It is the oldest remaining horse drawn tram depot in the Netherlands.


A horse tram on the Haarlemmerweg near Sloterdijk, 1913