Given its proximity to central Amsterdam, Melkmeisjesbrug (Milkmaid’s Bridge) could well be a contender for the title of the city’s most photographed footbridge. Indeed, offering picturesque views down both Brouwersgracht and Herengracht, Bridge 16 is a must-see for all you bridge watchers out there.
As with many of Amsterdam’s smaller bridges (such as Bridge 102 further south), Melkmeisjesbrug has an interesting history tied to its name.
According to Amsterdam’s municipality, there was originally a milk market at the Herenmarkt near the site of Bridge 16, after which the structure was named. A nearby tavern followed suit by erecting a milkmaid sign to entice the punters.
Although its difficult to ascertain exactly when Melkmeisjesbrug was first constructed, the below image from Amsterdam’s City Archives clearly shows the original bascule structure as it appeared in 1867. It was replaced with a simple arched beam in 1880.
More recently, Bridge 16 was the canvas for an installation at the Amsterdam Light Festival in 2014. Designed by Dutch architecht Rob van Houten, the Circle of Life installation was intended to give those walking over the bridge the impression that they were floating above the city.