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The Bridge of the Four Quarters of the World


The "Vierwindstrekenbrug". Photo Jona Lendering.
For Ella,
who just came to live in Amsterdam

The Vierwindstrekenbrug in Amsterdam, the "Bridge of the Four Quarters of the World", is a little-known monument in western Amsterdam, in a neighborhood where all streets are named after explorers. The bridge, built on the place where the Jan van Galenstraat crosses the Admiralengracht, is named after the four sculptures on its corners, which represent...
  • the north: an Eskimo fisherman, flanked by two walruses, standing in front of an iglo;
  • south: a Masai hunter, flanked by two lions, standing in front of a hut;
  • east: a Chinese stevedoor, flanked by two ships, standing in front of a low pagoda;
  • and west: an American businessman, flanked by two cars, standing in front of an office building.

The "Vierwindstrekenbrug". Photo Jona Lendering. The "Vierwindstrekenbrug". Photo Jona Lendering. The "Vierwindstrekenbrug". Photo Jona Lendering. The "Vierwindstrekenbrug". Photo Jona Lendering.
Eskimo
Chinese
Massai
American
The "Vierwindstrekenbrug". Photo Jona Lendering. The "Vierwindstrekenbrug". Photo Jona Lendering. The "Vierwindstrekenbrug". Photo Jona Lendering. The "Vierwindstrekenbrug". Photo Jona Lendering.
The bank
Access
Mother and child
Stock exchange statistics
The "Vierwindstrekenbrug". Photo Jona Lendering.
Flora
The creator of these nice statues was Hildo Krop (1884-1970), one of the most famous Dutch sculptors in the age between the two World Wars. On several places, the year 1932 is mentioned.

These four statues all represent the world of men. However, behind the bench opposite the Eskimo, is the monumental access to the bridge, and this is flanked by two female figures, who both have something to do with fertility. To the right is a woman playing with a child; to the left, the goddess Flora. I suspect they are not by Hildo Krop. I also suspect that the grand design - with women representing fertility and men representing exploration - is nowadays a bit outdated.

A satellite photo of the bridge can be seen here.
Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2012
Revision: 26 April 2012
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