Wooden Drawbridge Model
14" x 23.5" x 8.5"
This handmade wooden model of a bridge was purchased in Amsterdam in circa 1930 and was likely constructed between 1900‒1930. Made of a softwood, this structure models a bascule bridge, a type of drawbridge which uses counterweights to raise its leaf/s to allow boat traffic to pass. This particular model is a double-leafed drawbridge and is common in the city of Amsterdam. Perhaps the most famous drawbridge in the Dutch capital and the most closely resembled here, is the Magere Brug or “Skinny Bridge,” a whitewashed drawbridge across the river Amstel, in the centre of the city. The Magere Brug sits on an important historical site of trade and commerce; records note that a bridge was first built here in 1691, then rebuilt in 1871 following its severe deterioration. The present-day bridge was designed and built in 1934 by Piet Kramer (1881‒1961) in a style and form in keeping with the original 17th-century architecture. In its incredible likeness, the current model captures many of these design features such as the archway, sophisticated pulley and cantilever system, and even the cable and peg fence which lines the walkways on either end of the bridge. Perhaps this level of accuracy points to an architectural or educational purpose, though it could also have been built as part of a hobby set. Much like this model, the Magere Brug was hand-operated until 1994, further enhancing the connection between the two bridges, and as such, this handcrafted miniature is sure to provide its future owner with a true piece of Dutch history.
At this time in Amsterdam, the first public library in the country opened at the Keizersgracht in 1919. The Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam (Amsterdam Public Library) consisted of a public reading room, and book lending program. Today, the OBA has 26 branch libraries and 1.3 million objects in its collection.