I recently became the proud and happy owner of an e-bike. I was against the idea originally, seeing it as the first step towards physical decreptitude, but now that winter is here and voracious head winds come at you without mercy, I very much enjoy switching my e-bike to boost and overtaking all the pretty young Amsterdam things and saying, eat my dust! So, buoyed up with electric energy, I decided to take a bike trip from Muiden Castle to the Nescio Bridge.
Muiden Castle is located at the mouth of the Vecht river, some 15 kilometres south east of Amsterdam, in Muiden, where it flows into what used to be the Zuiderzee. It’s one of the better known castles in the Netherlands and has been featured in many television shows set in the Middle Ages. If you go out to the castle on your bike, I recommend visiting the features along the nearby, UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the Defence Line of Amsterdam (in Dutch Stelling van Amsterdam). This is a 135 km long ring of fortifications around Amsterdam, consisting of 42 forts located between 10 and 15 kilometers from the centre, and lowlands that can easily be flooded in time of war. The flooding was designed to give a depth of about 30 cm, insufficient for boats to traverse. Any buildings within 1 km of the line had to be made of wood, so that they could be burnt and the obstruction removed.
The Stelling van Amsterdam was constructed between 1880 and 1920. The invention of the aeroplane and tank made the forts obsolete almost as soon as they were finished. Many of the forts now are under both the control of the town councils. Plan your trip to one or more of the forts here.
The Bridge Called “I Don’t Know”
The Nescio Bridge (or Nesciobrug in Dutch) is an award-winning cycle and footbridge in the Netherlands. This curved, steel suspension bridge, located in Amsterdam, is the country’s first suspension bridge that carries only a cycle track and footpath, and at almost 800 metres length it is also one of the country’s longest cycle and footbridges. Additionally, it is the longest single cable suspension bridge in the Netherlands.
The bridge was designed by Jim Eyre of London-based Wilkinson Eyre Architects, in cooperation with two multinational engineering consultancy firms: London-based ARUP group and Netherlands-based, Grontmij. The design stands out by using a single, self-anchored cable.
The Nescio Bridge spans the Amsterdam–Rhine Canal, connecting the new residential area of IJburg, built on artificial islands in Lake IJ, with the mainland, landing very near Amsterdam Science Park, between East Amsterdam and North Diemen. On the IJburg side, the bridge touches down on the Diemerzeedijk, a 13th-century clay dike on which Dutch writer Nescio frequently made long walks that he recounted in his work, hence the bridge’s name. Nescio, Latin for ‘I don’t know’, was the pen name of Dutch writer Jan Hendrik Frederik Grönloh, who was born on June 22, 1882, in Amsterdam and died on July 25, 1961, in Hilversum. Grönloh was a businessman by profession, but as Nescio he is mainly remembered for the three novellas De uitvreter (The Freeloader), Titaantjes (Little Titans) and Dichtertje (Little Poet).
It was a great day out, and now that weather conditions aren’t necessarily a reason to leave my bike at home, next time I plan to explore more of the Stelling of Amsterdam on my electric steed…
With thanks to Frank de Smalen who organised this day out.