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Amstel tour I bike routes Amsterdam
The name Amsterdam comes from a combination of the words ´Amstel´ and ´dam´, meaning that it was founded beside a dam built across the river Amstel (nowadays Dam Square). This dam served to keep the outer water from flooding the town. This tour takes you along the Amstel river and you will see houseboats, traditional Dutch houses, working windmills and ofcourse the typical Dutch landschape of rolling meadows and dikes.

Take off at Lijnbaansgracht: Go left at Lijnbaansgracht and turn right on the Spiegelgracht and left onto the Stadhouderskade. Turn left at the Weteringlaan (where the Heineken Experience it at) and follow this road which turns into Vijzelgracht until you reach the Amstel. Turn right at the Amstel and cross the water at the second bridge at your left. You now are at Waterlooplein:

A. Start

B. The Mozes and Aaron Chruch, on the Waterlooplein/flea market

In 1649 there were two warehouses, one named Mozes and the other Aaron. From the year 1578 when Amsterdam became protestant these warehouses functioned as a hidden church for worshipping Catholics. Later they were confiscated. The church is build on the site of these warehouses in 1837.

C. City Hall and Opera House: The Stopera

The word Stopera is a combination of Stadhuis (city hall) and Opera. The building houses the city government, national ballet and opera. Some people think that the building as an answer to architectural terrorism because of the modern design between the old flavour of the surrounding buildings. The budget of the building was 250 million Dutch guilders, finally the building cost about 410 million, which was considered a waste of time and money by many Amsterdammers.

Leaving the Waterlooplein in a south westerly direction you cross a major road and take the left bank of the Amstel River.

D. Skinny Bridge

This bridge (in Dutch ‘Magere brug’) was build in 1650 and served as a pedestrian bridge and later was widened to accommodate horse drawn wagons. The old story goes that the ‘Magere’ (skinny) sisters had this bridge built to save themselves the five minutes that it took to cross the river at the Blue Bridge, so they could more easily visit each other. This story is untrue though.

Continue past the Magere Brug to the Amstelgates.

E. Amstelgates

Build in 1673. These sluice-gates were part of the water management and flood control system of Amsterdam. Several

times a week the gates are closed between 22.30 and 05.30 to flush out the dirty canal water.

F. Amstel Hotel, Prof. Tulpplein 1

In 1867 this was one of the first hotels in Amsterdam with electricity. This is the most expensive hotel in Amsterdam: you will pay 400€ for a single room without breakfast and 2500€ for the royal suite including, chauffeur, limousine, maids and breakfast.

Continue along Weesperzijde.

G. ‘Plan South’ (Plan Zuid), the Amsterdam School of Architecture

You will see a neighbourhood built between 1915 to 1925 named ‘Plan Zuid’. Architect Berlage originally designed the area and later this became famous as the Amsterdam School of Architecture. The ‘fairytale castles’ were the first high quality working class houses.

Turn to your right, and take Berlage Bridge (follow bicycle-sign: (white with red letters) Amstelveen).From this point you can choose to take the 1km detour:
You can get a quick impression of the area by taking Vrijheidslaan, first street to the right Kromme Mijdrechtstraat, turn right again to Uithoornstraat, turn left into Holendrechtstraat and then turn right along Amstelkade until the end, then to the right along Amsteldijk. Cross the major road and continue along the Amstel river (Amsteldijk).

Continue: At Pres. Kennedylaan the road bends away from the Amstel river, here you have to cross (follow the bicycle-sign: Amstelveen, Oudekerk a/d A). Continue on to the traffic light. Push the button and when the cycling light turns green, continue across the road and along the Amstel.

H. Zorgvliet graveyard, Amsteldijk 273

On this graveyard many well known Amsterdammers are buried. Often they are transported here by boat. Between 1700 and 1800 there were many plague victims buried. Open daily till 16.00 hrs. The area has beautiful oak trees and the area has an overwhelming silence.

I. Amstelpark

Created in 1972 to celebrate the famous Floriade, an event that takes place in Holland every 101 years. (next in 2012, just outside of Haarlem) This is the largest horticultural exhibition in the world and last for 6 months. After the Floriade it was turned into the Amstel park. No bikes allowed. There are about 182 different types of roses in the Rosarium. Open daily till sunset.

J. Windmill De Rieker

This windmill was built in 1636. It was designed especially for the purpose of draining the water out of the reclaimed areas (polders). In the 1600’s the windmills were performing tasks such as sawing wood, grinding grain and corn into flour, and raining lakes and keeping the land dry. This windmill is now a home of an Amsterdam family. Once there were 10.000 windmills in the Netherlands, now there are only 975 left.

 Continue at Amstel tour II

Total distance: km