Bridge 106

Niek Engelschmanbrug

Bridge 106. Copyright: Bridges of Amsterdam (Luke Walker)

SPECIFICATIONS

Official nameNiek Engelschmanbrug
Official numberBRU0106
TypeBeam
FunctionPedestrian-Bicycle-Scooter-Car-Tram
Running alongWestermarkt
Running overKeizersgracht
DistrictCentrum
Owner/operatorDIVV, KunstWerken


NOTES

Bridge 106, Niek Engelschmanbrug, is a wide, fixed bridge that sits in the shadow of Amsterdam’s famous Westerkerk.

Designed by Piet Kramer and built in 1924, the bridge carries all types of traffic and forms part of the city’s main western thoroughfare.

An earlier bridge at this site, which was constructed in 1894, was part of a much larger project to create a continuous road leading to the centre of Amsterdam.

Raadhuisstraat (Town Hall Street) was created following the draining and filling of the Warmoesgracht – a small canal between Singel and Herengracht near the western end of the Royal Palace (formerly Amsterdam’s Town Hall).

Numerous residential properties along Spuistraat and between Herengracht and Keizersgracht were demolished to make way for a new, s-shaped boulevard, which wound its way to Rozengracht. Bridge 106 connects the two streets.

106-Bridges-of-Amsterdam-Raadhuisstraat-Blueprint

The blueprint for the construction of Raadhuisstraat, showing the list of buildings due for demolition. Image via Amsterdam’s Municipal Department for the Preservation and Restoration of Historic Buildings and Sites (bMA)

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The below image from Amsterdam’s City Archives shows the original bridge during the early stages of its construction in 1894:

Although somewhat faded, the image shows the foundations of Bridge 106 being installed at the eastern end of the canal, directly opposite the Westerkerk. The majority of the buildings you can see here were subsequently demolished to make way for Raadhuisstraat.

Bridge 106. Copyright: Bridges of Amsterdam (James Walker)

Looking down Raadhuisstraat from Bridge 106

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Bridge 106
is dedicated to Niek Engelschman, a Dutch actor, gay activist and resistance fighter during the Second World War. Engelschman (alias ‘Bob Angelo’) was active in the struggle for the emancipation of homosexuals, and co-founded the Cultuur en Ontspanningscentrum (COC), an LGBT advocacy group.

The area surrounding Niek Engelschmanbrug remains an important site for Amsterdam’s LGBT community. 1987 saw the opening of the Homomonument, which symbolises the long road to gay emancipation in the Netherlands and abroad.

The monument’s three triangles of Rosa Porrino granite (a reference to the pink triangles homosexuals were forced to wear in Nazi concentration camps) represent the past, present and future. Designed by Karin Daan, it acts as a constant reminder of the prejudices faced by the LGBT community.

Bridge 106. Copyright: Bridges of Amsterdam (James Walker)

Looking to the future, remembering the past: Homomonument and Niek Engelschmanbrug

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A sign at the site reads:

Homomonument

Commemorates All Women and Men Ever Oppressed and
Persecuted because of their homosexuality.

Supports the International Lesbian and Gay Movement in their
Struggle against Contempt, Discrimination and Oppression.

Demonstrates that we are Not Alone.
Calls for Permanent Vigilance.

Past, Present and Future are represented by the
3 Triangles on this Square, designed by Karin Daan, 1987.

Bridge 106. Copyright: Bridges of Amsterdam Luke Walker)

Westerkerk

 

About James

Owner/Editor, Bridges of Amsterdam