The beautifully majestic River Amstel is easily spotted on any city map. The mouth of the river emerges or culminates at city centre’s Canal Belt feeding and draining the city’s waterways daily. The city itself takes its name from the river which had its first dam created in the 13th century by local fishermen who lived on its banks. The river winds its way almost 20 miles through the south easterly portion of the city known as Amstelland and squeezes its way through the municipalities of Amstelveen and Ouder-Amstel as well as the towns of Ouderkerk aan de Amstel and Nes aan de Amstel. Today the central city portion river is more associated with events and tourism than fishing. At the annual Queen’s Day and Gay Pride city festivals the river is packed with colourful boats full of party people blasting out loud music. The banks of the river are home to some of the city’s most popular art galleries and visitor attractions whilst the river itself is crossed by some of the city’s most famous and historical bridges.
Highlights of the Amstel
Along the eastern bank of the Amstel resides the famous Royal Carre theatre which is often referred to as ‘the most prestigious theatre in the Netherlands’. Here you can enjoy an evening of world-class singing, dancing, cabaret and comedy. Further north lies the mammoth Hermitage Museum which presents a collection of art works and exhibits illustrating the historic relationship between Russia and the Netherlands.
The Amstel is crossed by several distinctly different bridges of varying ages including the Toronto Bridge, Blue Bridge and Hoge Sluis. The most famous bridge however has to be the pretty Skinny Bridge or Magere Brug which famously appears in the classic 1971 James Bond film, Diamonds are Forever. It lights up nightly with over 1200 light bulbs to romantic effect.
At the mouth of the river where it enters the canal system of the city you will find the Stopera, the city’s opera house, the wonderful Waterlooplein Flea Market and the world famous Amsterdam Floating Flower Market.
Many visitors to the city choose to hire bicycles and cycle south along the river’s edge, enjoy a beer and an ice cream at Ouderkerk aan de Amstel,. The little town is also home to Beth Haim, the oldest Jewish cemetery in the Netherlands. Located alongside the Amstel itself, it was purchased for use as a burial ground by the Jewish community of Amsterdam in 1614. The ancient weathered tombstones have inscriptions in three languages, Portuguese, Dutch and Hebrew and are carved with elaborate scenes. Head back home again to Amsterdam city centre along the cycle path on the opposite side of the river.
Our Amstel Apartments
We have a broad selection of apartments located alongside and within the close vicinity of the stunning River Amstel. To see their precise locations and availability simply insert your dates of travel and press the search button. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact our friendly support team.
Note: This information was accurate at time of posting but often establishments change without notice. Please be sure to confirm details directly with the locations before making plans. Copyright 2012.
by James Fisher