Often referred to as the Venice of the North, Amsterdam is a stunning treasure of a place to visit. From the beautiful natural areas to the architecture, it creates a unique view of modern life in a historically charming city.
The city has 165 canals, which served as a vital way for people to travel decades ago. Each of these canals has created dozens of little islands where people move from place to place. The result is some 1900 various-sized, all-equally-stunning bridges.
Suppose you’re searching for the most romantic bridges for a photography opportunity, or you want the most picturesque bridges to snap a picture of at sunrise. In that case, there are some exceptional options here.
Amsterdam’s bridges are memorable, but there are many of them. With so many bridges over the canals of Amsterdam, it’s easy to become a bit overwhelmed with knowing which to explore. The most famous bridges in Amsterdam are stunners.
Before you start your journey, there are a few things to remember. When you visit any of these bridges, take a moment to snap a photo and then wait your turn.
Show Table of Contents
- Best Bridges in Amsterdam to Visit
- 1. The Narrowest of Bridges: Magere Brug
- 2. Most Interesting Architectural Design Bridge: Python Bridge
- 3. The Oldest Bridge: Torensluis Brug
- 4. Most Out-of-Place Bridge: Blauwbrug
- 5. Most Romantic Bridge: Staalmeesterburg
- 6. Best Stone Bridge: Lekkeresluis Brug
- 7. Best Wooden Bridge: Drieharingenbrug
- 8. Most Picturesque Bridge in Amsterdam: Sint Jansbrug
- 9. Most Unique Drawbridge: Aluminiumbrug
- 10. Most Geometrical Bridge: Waalseilandbrug
- 11. The Longest Bridge: Nescio Bridge
- What Are the Top Bridges in Amsterdam?
- How to Explore the Bridges of Amsterdam
- Take a Canal Cruise
- Bike Tour
- Walking Tour
- Which are the oldest bridges in Amsterdam?
- How many bridges span the canals of Amsterdam?
Best Bridges in Amsterdam to Visit
1. The Narrowest of Bridges: Magere Brug
Easily noted as one of the most beautiful bridges in Amsterdam, Magere Brug, also known as Skinny Bridge, spans the Amstel River. It gets a lot of attention because, at one end, sits Carre Theatre, one of the most famous tourist destinations in the city.
The bridge was built in 1691, though it’s been replaced. The previous bridge was much more narrow and couldn’t meet the growing city’s needs.
An interesting story about Magere Brug, or Skinny Bridge, is that it was built by two women, sisters, who lived across the river from each other, and the bridge provided a way to allow them to walk over to see each other. While that may not hold, the bridge is a fabulous, wooden, white path perfect for walking across a busy day.
If you’re considering staying near the Skinny Bridge, book a stay at Boutique Studio Magielsen, about a 15-minute walk from the Heineken Experience.
See Related: Where to Stay in Amsterdam: Best Areas & Places
2. Most Interesting Architectural Design Bridge: Python Bridge
The Python Bridge, also known as High Bridge, is certainly one of the most interesting looking, with its beautiful wave-like structure. It spans the canal between Borneo Island and Sporenburg. Its bright red coloring and curves make it look like a snake moving across the waterfront, hence the name.
This is a newer bridge, having been built in 2001. One of the best ways to experience it is on a bike tour through the area. Many of Amsterdam’s bridges can be explored like this, and all the bridges in the city are accessible by walking.
3. The Oldest Bridge: Torensluis Brug
Torensluis Brug, or Tower Bridge, may be one of the most well-known of the area’s bridges, and it’s also one of the oldest, built-in 1648. This bridge once had a central tower that stood until 1829. The bridge spans the Singel and is sometimes referred to as Brug 9. One of the best ways to see this bridge is from within – unlike most other bridges in the city, this one allows you a tour of the inside!
This bridge is also one of the widest in town, so it has ample room for those who wish to sit, sip a drink, and watch those cycling and strolling by. Because of the space, you’ll find art exhibitions, music, and even fashion shows on the bridge.
See Related: 2 Days in Amsterdam Itinerary
4. Most Out-of-Place Bridge: Blauwbrug
Most of the bridges in Amsterdam are quite Dutch in their design and architectural details, but Blauwbrug is unique with its French architecture. It is quite like the bridges of Paris that span the Seine River. What makes it unique is that this bridge, also known as Blue Bridge, has never been painted or lit blue, and the history of where that name came from is unclear.
Built in 1883, it’s certainly not the oldest, but it is a fabulous, historic bridge that spans the river Amstel and is just one bridge away from Magere Burg (which makes it a natural stop on your bridge tour here). This bridge connects Waterlooplein to the Rembrandtplein areas.
5. Most Romantic Bridge: Staalmeesterburg
Quite the classic charmer, Staalmeesterburg is a draw bridge spanning the Groenburgwal Canal that’s nothing short of elegant. It’s often considered the most romantic bridge in Amsterdam, especially at sunset.
Zuiderkerk Tower is in the background, making for excellent selfie spots. It’s often the scene of proposals or meaningful pictures to remember a honeymoon.
The white, wooden bridge is one of many “Love Lock” bridges from across the globe and is often called The Love Lock Bridge by locals. On Love Lock Bridges, lovers place a locked padlock on the bridge to symbolize their love for each other.
A few years ago, the city banned the practice, allowing some of the padlocks already there to stay but forbidding new ones from being added. The police remove new ones, and this practice is somewhat frowned upon, but you’ll still see it happening pretty often!
See Related: Amsterdam Packing List: What to Bring on Your Trip
6. Best Stone Bridge: Lekkeresluis Brug
A superb 18th-century stone bridge quite picturesque is a surprise at first glance; Lekkeresluis Brug is certainly impressive and a personal favorite! It’s sometimes called Bridge 59, its official bridge number, carved into the stone.
Built in 1754, it spans the Prince’s Canal, or Prinsengracht, the longest of Amsterdam’s larger canals. Particularly detailed are the beautiful stone arches that capture the eye as soon as you notice them, and that’s one of the first things noticeable about this bridge. Notice the beautiful canal houses built along it, constructed during the Dutch Golden Age.
7. Best Wooden Bridge: Drieharingenbrug
Located about 10 minutes from Amsterdam Central Station is Brieharingenbrug, located in a more residential part of town. Despite being so close to the city center, tourists often miss it.
What makes this bridge so impressive is its beautiful wooden design. This detailed wooden draw bridge is quite narrow – only two people can walk side-by-side down it.
Built in 1676, this bridge connects Prinseneiland to Realeneiland and has been exceptionally well maintained over its lifespan, and is a real piece of history.
See Related: Your Guide to Cheap Trips to Amsterdam!
8. Most Picturesque Bridge in Amsterdam: Sint Jansbrug
Sint Jansbrug is a classic Victorian iron footbridge right in the center of Amsterdam. Its understated, stoic aesthetic and black-painted iron make it easily one of the town’s most simple yet striking bridges. It’s fun to stand at the top of the bridge and watch the slow-moving water under it as small boats and a few swans pass through.
This bridge, which crosses the Oudezijdsvoorburgwal canal, is surrounded by a blend of traditional canal houses and newer buildings, including the White-Canal View Private Studio.
This an excellent place to stay near the center of the city. This quintessentially Dutch bed and breakfast is stunning in its traditional, local features and roomy interior.
9. Most Unique Drawbridge: Aluminiumbrug
Aluminiumbrug is named for its construction and the aluminium deck (or “aluminum” to us, Yanks) installed in the mid-1950s. This bridge is mechanically enthralling, with large gears that make the drawbridge rise and fall. It’s easy to become mesmerized watching them move, though they rarely raise the bridge.
It’s easy to overlook the stunning beauty of Aluminiumbrug, but a glance at it will likely draw you into marveling at the intricate metal detailing for a while.
See Related: Is Amsterdam Safe? Here’s What to Know
10. Most Geometrical Bridge: Waalseilandbrug
Looking for more artwork in your bridges? Waalseilandbrug is an alluring choice, one that has quite geometrically appealing details throughout it.
From the structure of the carved blocks and jagged edges of the red brick above the canal to the large rectangular blocks along the top, it’s genuinely impressive, almost futuristic – not bad for something over a hundred years old!
This bridge connects Lastage to Waalseiland. Often called Bridge 283, it was built in 1914, so it has a unique turn-of-the-century feel complementing its futuristic angles. If you tour the national monuments nearby, this is one of the most notable bridges in Amsterdam that you should add to the agenda.
11. The Longest Bridge: Nescio Bridge
In the Ijburg neighborhood is the Nescio Bridge, the longest of Amsterdam’s famous bridges, at a whopping 780 meters in length.
It’s also the Netherlands’ first suspension bridge and crosses the Rinj Canal, linking Amsterdam East with IJburg. Note the curved steel of this impressive bridge as you cross over it on foot or bike or under it on a canal cruise.
It’s also great for sightseeing. You can walk and stand on it to overlook the entire city from the middle. Don’t forget your camera!
See Related: How to Travel From London to Amsterdam
What Are the Top Bridges in Amsterdam?
People often stand in line to check out the bridges Amsterdam is so well recognized for. From the first to the final bridge on your trip, note the history of it, the bridge number, and any associated history. Taking a guided tour of all the bridges is likely to be difficult, but you will find most of them well worth exploring.
You can also find a map with most bridges’ locations but don’t be afraid to explore the streets and canals by boat in the area, too. Many offer fabulous shops and local parks to give you more of the history of this location.
|Bridge Name||Notable Feature|
|Magere Brug||Narrowest of Bridges|
|Python Bridge||Most Interesting Architectural Design|
|Torensluis Brug||Best Bridge to Sit and People Watch|
|Blauwbrug||Most Out-of-Place Bridge|
|Staalmeesterburg||Most Romantic Bridge|
|Lekkeresluis Brug||Best Stone Bridge|
|Drieharingenbrug||Best Wooden Bridge|
|Reguliersgracht||Most Picturesque Bridge in Amsterdam|
|Aluminiumbrug||Most Unique Drawbridge|
|Waalseilandbrug||Most Geometrical Bridge|
How to Explore the Bridges of Amsterdam
There are a few bridges to discover in Amsterdam’s cities and neighborhoods that are simply pedestrian bridges. These are typically smaller, making them a great spot for a picture and a stroll in the evening. The Netherlands is perfect for this throughout much of the year.
There are other ways to check them out, though, day and night. Here are a few recommendations to consider.
Take a Canal Cruise
There is something magical about the bridges here on a canal cruise, especially if you can book one in the evening. It’s a magical experience that can take around 1 to 2 hours. Here are some top canal cruises:
- Amsterdam Open Boat Canal Cruise with Live Guide and Onboard Bar
- Amsterdam 1 Hour Canal Cruise from Central Station
- 75-Minute Amsterdam Canal Cruise by Blue Boat Company
If you hope to see a few monuments, stunning buildings, and even a few hidden gems in the city, book a guided bike tour. They will allow you to visit Amsterdam at a bit of a faster pace, getting to see more of the city. Amsterdam has many bike-friendly bridges to explore, including the Groningen Bridges. Popular Amsterdam bike tours include:
- Bike Tour of Amsterdam’s Highlights and Hidden Gems
- City Bike Tour Amsterdam, Exploring Amsterdam’s Must-See Sights
- Amsterdam Highlights Small-Group Bike Tour
You can see much of the city by boat, but it’s often possible to explore the rest of the communities and the surrounding neighborhoods of the cities by a walking tour. This is a quiet, fantastic way to catch the intimacies of each area on your trip. Check out these Amsterdam walking tours:
Which are the oldest bridges in Amsterdam?
The oldest bridge in Amsterdam is the Torensluis Bridge, built in 1648.
How many bridges span the canals of Amsterdam?
The canals of Amsterdam seem to have many bridges across them, and there’s some misunderstanding about how many are out there. By most accounts, there are about 1900 bridges of various sizes throughout the city.
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- About the Author
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a seasoned traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers find their next adventure, whether it’s exploring new places or revisiting old favorites.
He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wonderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). He loves listening to people’s stories from around the world as well as sharing his own experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.