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Monumental bridges route in the Amsterdam Forest
In 2013, the municipality of Amstelveen decided to designate 53 bridges in the Amsterdam Forest as municipal monuments. The GPS routes described below take you along these monumental bridges.
The Amsterdam Forest is a man-made forest three times the size of Central Park in New York City. It was created as an unemployment relief program during the crisis in the 1930s, providing work for over 20,000 people. Because the Second World War interrupted the work, the construction of the forest lasted until 1970.
Most of the bridges that received monumental status were designed by the Dutch architect Pieter Lodewijk Kramer (1881-1961), one of the most important architects of the expressionist architecture style “Amsterdam School”. Not less than 220 bridges designed by Piet Kramer were realized, and about 65 of them are in the Amsterdam Forest.
During the beginning of his career, Piet Kramer worked at the office of architect Eduard Cuypers, a cousin of the famous architect Pierre Cuypers who designed the Central Station and Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The church “Urbanus kerk” in Amstelveen (Bovenkerk), near the start of the southern walking route was also designed by Pierre Cuypers.
Many of the bridges that Piet Kramer designed between 1937-1957 for the Amsterdam Forest are made of wood. The bridges have a peculiar design and are especially notable for the railings. By running the railings onto the banks and flaring them out widely, the bridges are made to appear larger. Every bridge is different. The bridges that had to carry heavy traffic are made of concrete. Due to their rigid, elegant thin railings these concrete bridges still fit well in the rustic forest environment.
There are several bridges that make use of iron balls to operate them. By pulling the uppermost ball the bridge can be opened, while the balls provide the counterweight. The design of the other parts of the ball bridges is very plain, focusing all attention on the balls.
The bridges around the rowing course and the open air theater could all be raised or have a gate, in order to close off the entrances to these attractions.
All bridges in Amsterdam are numbered. The monumental bridges in the Amsterdam Forest have numbers between 504 and 592. The bridges and their numbers are indicated in the GPS files as waypoints. Three walking routes are available that take you along the bridges. Note that a few of the monumental bridges are just next to the walking route, but you do not cross them. You can download the GPS files by clicking on the links below:
MONUMENTAL BRIDGES NORTH (14 km) takes you along the 36 monumental bridges north of the highway A9 (http://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=tnpjbbnkkzdsmxat)
MONUMENTAL BRIDGES SOUTH (9 km) connects 19 monumental bridges in the south part of the forest
ALL MONUMENTAL BRIDGES (22 km) is a combination of the two walks and visits all 53 monumental bridges (http://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=epyrrqazbdqpmkom)
The start of the NORTH and ALL BRIDGES walks is located at the main entrance of the Amsterdam Forest, at the Van Neijenrode weg. Here you can also find the Boswinkel (Forest Shop) where you can get more information about the Amsterdam Forest (http://www.amsterdamsebos.nl/english/). Food and drinks are available at Grand Cafe De Bosbaan (http://www.debosbaan.nl/). You can use the address “Bosbaanweg 5, Amstelveen” for your navigation system. There is a large free parking.
The start of the SOUTHERN walk is in Amstelveen (Bovenkerk), near the church Urbanus-kerk and cafe/restaurant Silversant (http://www.silversant.nl/). Note that cafe Silversant is closed on Saturdays. You can use the address “Noorddammerlaan 119, Amstelveen” for your navigation system. There is free parking.
The start of the NORTH and ALL MONUMENTAL BRIDGES routes can conveniently be reached with a 30 min bus ride (bus 170, 172 or 174) from Amsterdam Central Station. The start of the SOUTHERN walk can be reached with bus 199 from Schiphol Airport (30 min) or with bus 170+171 or 172 from Amsterdam Central station (50 min). See http://9292.nl/en# for detailed descriptions or when starting from another location.
Some small parts of the routes may get a bit muddy after wet periods. However, most of the trail is asphalt or gravel, and the routes therefore can be walked throughout the year.
You can download a PDF file with information about Piet Kramer and the bridges at the link below. The PDF contains scanned pages of the book that accompanied an exposition about the bridges of Piet Kramer in the Stedelijk Museum in 1995 (English/Dutch). In addition, the PDF contains the official document that was used to obtain monumental status for the bridges, with very detailed descriptions, maps and pictures of the 53 monumental bridges (in Dutch, see http://s000.tinyupload.com/?file_id=06735634123825367985)
- Arts and Culture
- Hiking and Walking
This huge park to the South of the city of Amsterdam (and also bordering Amstelveen and Aalsmeer) is a quiet and green haven from the bustle of the city. If you love green spaces you'll want to come here as Amsterdam does otherwise have a distinct shortage of green spaces. The park was built in the 1930s as a means of providing work for 20,000 unemployed people during the great depression. The land was drained and the trees planted to create a manmade forest near the city. There is a visitors centre and cafe here, but since almost all teh visitors are Dutch almost all information is in Dutch only. But since most Dutch people speak perfect English and are so very friendly if you ask for help you are almost certain to get it.
- Hiking and Walking
Things to do for kids
It has been asked several times in the Amsterdam Forum what there is to do for kids in and around Amsterdam. Many of the answers are summarized below, with credits to everybody active in the forum:
In and around Amsterdam:
Science museum Nemo
The Tropenmuseum has special activities for kids:
Artis, the zoo of Amsterdam
Café Groot Melkhuis with playground in the famous Vondelpark:
Amsterdam Forest with playgrounds, pools, goatfarm, pancake house etc
Climbing in living trees in Fun Forest in the Amsterdam Forest
Amstelpark near RAI Station with playgrounds, train, midget golf etc
Indoor playground (ages 1-12)
Animal farms for kids
Near the village Ouderkerk aan de Amstel: http://www.elsenhove.nl/
Amsterdam SouthEast: http://www.kinderboerderijbrinkie.nl/
Reproduction of the VOC ship Eastindiaman Amsterdam
Amsterdam Dungeon for kids older than 10 years
Pancake Boat: Cruise and unlimited pancakes
Puppet theaters (check if appropriate for non-Dutch kids)
A day at the beach in for instance Zandvoort or Scheveningen . Also see http://www.iamsterdam.com/en/visiting/aroundamsterdam/regional-parks-and-beaches
Big outdoor playground about 45 minutes from Amsterdam:
The Netherlands in miniature (The Hague)
Natural History Museum (Leiden)
Dick Bruna Museum, the creator of Nijntje (Miffy) (Utrecht)
Bataviawerf and Nieuw Land (New Land) Museum (Lelystad)
Reconstruction of two Dutch United East Indies Company (VOC) ships, one of the ships is finished and can be visited: http://www.bataviawerf.nl/. The Nieuw Land Museum is next door and has a big area where kids can play and explore: http://www.nieuwlanderfgoed.nl/. Combination tickets are available.
There are too many to list, google “attractiepark”
See for instance http://www.efteling.com/ , http://www.duinrell.nl/, http://www.sprookjesbos.nl/ (Limburg, in the south of the Netherlands)
- Family Travel
- Theme Park Trips
In the Amsterdamse Bos (forest of Amsterdam), there is a climbing park with different courses in living trees.
See the website for more information!
- Theme Park Trips
- Family Travel
- Adventure Travel
Amsterdamse Bos / Amsterdam Forest
A man-made forest (1928) situated close to Amsterdam, Amstelveen and Aalsmeer. A good place to relax and enjoy nature, with excellent facilities for families with children.
Some things to do:
- Marked walking routes ranging from 4-7 km.
- Jogging routes of 5 km, 10 km and 21 km.
- 14 km long route for bikes. Bikes can be hired at the main entrance on the Van Nijenrodeweg (+31 20 644 54 73, http://www.bikerentalamsterdam.nl).
- Goat farm (great for the kids, see http://www.geitenboerderij.nl/).
- Open air theather (± july-august, see http://www.bostheater.nl/).
- Two pools for kids and several playgrounds.
- Climbing in living trees in Fun Forest in the Amsterdam Forest, see http://www.funforest.nl/
- Canoes and pedal boats can be hired at the "Grote Vijver", the big pond
(+31 20 645 78 31, http://www.kanoverhuur-adam.nl/, make sure you have ID with you as deposit).
- A pancake house, Boerderij Meerzicht
(+31 20 679 27 44, http://www.boerderijmeerzicht.nl/).
- A ferryboat that will take you close to the pancake house or to the beaches on the other site of the lake the Nieuwe Meer (http://www.rederij-oeverloos.nl/).
- Visitors’ centre close to the main entrance at the Bosbaan (rowing course)
Open: Tuesday - Saturday from 12.00 to 17.00, Sundays from 10.00 to 17.00
(+31 20 545 61 00).
- Camping (http://www.campingamsterdamsebos.nl/).
An interactive map can be found here:
http://www.amsterdamsebos.amsterdam.nl/algemene_onderdelen/plattegrond. You can also download the map by following the link to the PDF called Plattegrond Amsterdamse Bos.
- Hiking and Walking
Birdwatching in the Oostvaardersplassen
Go birdwatching, 40 km east of Amsterdam.
The Oostvaarderplassen is a nature reserve in the Netherlands,
Despite its age, the polder it exists in only became dry in 1968, it has an international importance as a European wetland. The Oostvaardersplassen can be divided into two areas, wet and dry.
In the wet area along the Markermeer , there are large reedlands on clay, where moulting geese often feed. This area is also home to cormorants, spoonbills, barnacle geese, white herons and the Great Bittern, among many other animals.
The dry area was originally a habitat for willow trees. The first year hundreds of seedlings could be found on a square metre. The area is kept open by konik, deer and Heck cattle. These big grazers are kept out in the open all year round without supplemental feeding. The theory is that in time, the current open landscape will evolve into a natural forest. The only big grazers missing are the moose and the wisent (European bison). It is unlikely that the moose will be introduced but there is hope for the wisent as it fills a different niche from Heck cattle.
The Oostvaardersplassen today covers 5600 ha, of which 3600 ha are marshland and 2000 ha are grasslands and roughs.
There are White Tailed Eagles all year round
More info about birdwatching and the Oostvaardersplassen and how to get there:
- National/State Park
- Hiking and Walking
Explore the World
- Sestri Levante
- Togo Hotels
- Fort Ticonderoga Hotels
- Kampung Tanjung Lumpur Hotels
- La Línea de la Concepción
- Sugar Pine Point State Park Hotels