Groenburgwal Then And Now

One of the most painted, drawn, photographed and filmed canal locations in Amsterdam must be the view from the small wooden bridge along the Groenburgwal towards the Zuiderkerk. Claude Monet visited Amsterdam in 1871 and 1874 and painted this view on the latter of those occasions:


Groenburgwal by Claude Monet in 1874


The view from standing on the wooden bridge in Monet’s painting features in many guides and books about Holland and Amsterdam. Below is an engraving from the book  Nordland Fahrten – Malerische Wanderungen durch Holland und Dänemark – Land und Leute mit besonderer Berüchsichtigung von Sage und Geschichte, Literatur und Kunst. I admit to not having read it yet, as the gothic font makes it hard to read. It was published in 1886.

Groenburgwal circa 1880

Groenburgwal circa 1880


The next one is from 2010, made during one of my trips to Holland. It shows how the use of the Amsterdam canals has changed. It has gone from being an important route for transporting goods and people to being place to moor your boat used for leisure purposes. Now the roads along the canals are choked with cars. Views like this make you think how much more beautiful Amsterdam could be if cars were banned. I know, not practical and if I lived there I might think differently. I also wonder which of the trees, if any, are the same as in the previous view. I think I shall go back to that spot in winter when the leaves are gone and we will be able to see more of the facades. That should not be too difficult to organise as our Amsterdam apartment is just to the right of the bridge in this view.



Groenburgwal by Ruud van Ruitenbeek in July 2010


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