Historic Amsterdam brick bridges in dire need of repair

Historic bridges in Amsterdam's Watergraafsmeer are in dire need of repair, the Heemschut Heritage Association wrote in a letter to Amsterdam district Oost, Het Parool reports.

The association is referring to bridges around the Galileiplantsoen and Arcihmedesplantsoen, according to the newspaper. They were designed in the Amsterdam School-style by architect Piet Kramer in 1928. 

According to Sebastien Baggelaar, chairman of the Amsterdam committee at the Heemschut association, most of these bridges show signs of rusted letters and rotten cement. Bricks are crumbling off and cracks are appearing. At one bridge on Galileiplantsoen, a bench has become "nothing more than an ugly wooden picket fence" and another shows "a big crack where the ironwork goes into the brick". 

The bridges are all that remains of the Amsterdam School-style. Homes that were built in the style were demolished after the Second World War, mostly because of poor maintenance. It is therefore extra important to look after these bridges, according to Baggelaar. "Nowhere else in the world has such a large collection of work of one architect. It is up to each district to maintain its own part of this collection."

A spokesperson for the governing committee of Oost told Het Parool that the bridges are inspected every year, the last time in November 2016. The Piet Kramer bridges don't have monumental status. And during inspections, the safety of the bridges gets priority. This is also true for bridges that are considered monuments. According to the spokesperson, maintenance is being done in a "sober but practical" manner.