The Aalmoezeniersbrug, also known simply as Bridge Number 68, is situated at the intersection of Leidsestraat and forms part of the exit route from Amsterdam-Centrum to Amsterdam-West, along with the King Lock and Bridge 43. The original bridge was constructed around 1860 based on a design by the city architect Bastiaan de Greef. As traffic increased, it became apparent that both the street and the bridges were too narrow to accommodate the growing demands.
To address this issue, the bridges underwent modifications, with a particular focus on accommodating trams by incorporating tram stops. Renowned architect Piet Kramer was responsible for designing the new bridge, envisioning a plate bridge with three passages and brick and natural stone abutments, adorned with decorative motifs on the wings. The planning process for these bridges began in 1916, with a budget of 150,000 guilders allocated for all three structures. However, due to the economic impact of World War I, raw material costs surged, leading to a nearly doubled budget by 1920/1921.
Despite the increased expenses, the Aalmoezeniersbrug was enhanced with ironwork balustrades and adorned with several granite sculptures crafted by Hildo Krop, including four fabled animals. These additions added an artistic and decorative touch to the bridge’s appearance.
In recognition of its historical and architectural significance, the Aalmoezeniersbrug was designated as a national monument in 2002. Concurrently, the municipality found an opportunity to reduce costs by transforming Leidsestraat into a pedestrian zone, eliminating the need for traffic flow dampening measures.
Over time, Leidsestraat gradually lost its role as a traffic road and evolved into a pedestrian-friendly zone, contributing to the area’s cultural and historical heritage.