Rumour has it that a kiss on the bridge will ensure you stay together forever...
According to legend, the wooden bridge originally built here in 1691 was constructed so that two wealthy sisters, who lived on opposite sides of the Amstel, could visit each other with ease. It seems they weren’t quite wealthy enough to build a bridge wide enough for general use, hence its narrow profile - the drawbridge was a tight squeeze even for two pedestrians to pass one another.
Since that time the ‘skinny bridge’ has seen several versions: it was rebuilt slightly wider in 1871, and again fifty years later, and demolished yet again in 1934. The one we see today was last renovated in 1969.
Nowadays the white-painted wooden bascule bridge is opened many times a day to let river traffic pass through (most sightseeing boats are low enough to pass under without it being opened). Until 1994, when automatic operation was introduced, this was all done by hand.
It is an especially popular spot with tourists and photographers in the evening, when it is romantically illuminated by an array of bulbs, accentuating its elegant arched structure. There are 1,500 bridges in Amsterdam, and Magere Brug is certainly one of the highlights.
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