Crossing the Amstel, De Blauwbrug has connected the Amstelstraat with Waterlooplein since 1883. Before then many bridges had blue railings, a feature that the striking Blauwbrug takes its name from. While the blue railings have disappeared, you can still see blue in use on lanterns on many bridges.
For many years there was a wooden drawbridge over the Amstel connecting the city and the island of Vlooienburg. At that time the bridge was very much like the famous Magere Brug (skinny bridge) and others that crossed the Amstel.
As the city grew, Amsterdam's city council were keen to build a new bridge that would connect the islands and include a tram line. The plan was for an elegant bridge that spoke of luxury, a perfect way to show off during the Colonial Exhibition of 1883. City architect Bastiaan de Greef and his assistant Willem Springer were asked to come up with a design. Their initial design was in the style of Pont Neuf in Paris, which would have sunk into the mud in Amsterdam. A design with lower arches was chosen, and though not needed in the slow-flowing Amstel, the solid bridge pillar design necessary to keep ice floes in the fast-flowing Seine off the bridge was kept.
The bridge was opened in 1883 to a great deal of criticism. Many people felt the bridge was too pompous for Amsterdam.