Magere Brug Amsterdam

famous narrow bridge across the Amstel River

The Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge) is a traditional double leaf Dutch bascule bridge connecting sides of the river Amstel. The original bridge was built in 1691.

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The Magere Brug across the Amstel River is a narrow bridge which is lit at night

Amsterdam's most famous bridge


Because this bridge was very small, the locals called it Magere Brug, which means small or skinny bridge. The bridge used to be so narrow that two people could barely cross at the same time.

As traffic along the river Amstel increased, the original bridge from 1691 was replaced by a wider one in 1871 and the name 'Skinny' was not quite so appropriate as it was.


Several other bridges of this type are found in Amsterdam at the Staalstraat/Grimburgwal, Nieuwe Herengracht, Rapenburg, Prinseneiland and Bickerseiland.

During the day the bridge is opened about every 20 minutes by the bridgemaster in order to let through river traffic. The boats used for sightseeing tours are low enough to pass underneath the bridge when closed.

Renewed

In 1934 the city decided to replace it with a new bridge that looked the same as the previous, only slightly bigger.

Until 1994 the bridge was opened by hand, but now is opened automatically.

Use of the bridge has been limited to pedestrians and cyclists since 2003.

Illumination at night

The Skinny Bridge is far not skinny anymore, but still one of the most beautiful bridges of Amsterdam. The bridge is decorated with 1200 light bulbs that are illuminated at night. It's a very special experience to pass underneath the bridge during a candlelight tour in the evening.

Location

The Magere Brug across the Amstel River is situated between Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht in the Centrum district, near Rembrandtplein and Waterlooplein.

Other nearby attractions are Hermitage Amsterdam, Luther Museum, Muziektheater and Royal Theatre Carre.

more impressions

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Aerial view of the Amstel River, with the Skinny Bridge (in the middle) and the Amstel Locks (in the background)

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Rent a Boat and Sail through the Skinny Bridge

neighbourhoods explained

Centrum District