On the Open Monument Day (Open Monumentendag) the Sun itself decided to come to Amsterdam and visit some old monuments. It was a great sunny day, perfect for walking through the city from one place to another. One of the attractions was Torensluis, the city’s oldest and largest bridge (42 meters wide), which was open to visitors. The idea definitely sparked curiosity, as seeing an old bridge from the inside is not an insignificant endeavour. Located on the Singel at number 165a, in the beautiful canal belt area, the monument is also known as Brug 9 (or the “bridge with the Multatuli statue”). Visited daily by tourists and locals and photographed from all angles — but not very often from the inside — the bridge opened its doors for everyone who wanted to walk down into the past through the narrow entrance. It was definitely a must-see — and it still is, because it can still be visited!
The story of Torensluis is fascinating: it started in 1648 when it was first completed. The name means “tower lock” and it comes from the “Jan Roodepoortstoren” tower which stood on the bridge until 1829 when it was torn down. The tower foundation is still part of the bridge and the footprint of the tower is still visible on the pavement: a square made of bricks with a different colour can be seen there. The entrance and the barred windows of the tower’s dungeon are also still visible. Over many years, the tower was used for a variety of purposes, serving as a storage place, as a prison for minor criminals and even as a secret listening post during the Cold War.
Nowadays, Brug 9 became a prime location for a jazz club; it also hosts art exhibitions, documentary evenings, debates and even fashion shows. These events don’t take place every night, but there is a Brug 9 web site (yes, in Dutch, but Google Translate can offer a helping hand) where the agenda can be found for everyone planning a visit.
Enjoy a novel view of the inside of the bridge in the following photos.