When I come down the Nijlpaardenbrug at 8:00 in the morning I hear the monkeys and birds from the Artis Zoo wake up. I don’t know why, but this is such a nice thing to hear. On the one side these animal sounds belong to this neighborhood because of the zoo, yet at the same time, they don’t fit into this busy city. A conundrum which is at the core of each zoo I suppose.
But the Nijlpaardenbrug, which literally translates to Hippo bridge is the bridge immediately after I turn right each morning after which it is a straight route to work. It is not the most comfortable bridge because it’s quite steep and a lot of people have to get off their bikes here. Yet somehow, with the sounds of the animals in the background, it makes my commute worthwhile.
It can also be the starting point of a walk through a nice neighborhood. When you would walk by the water you will see zebras and giraffes grazing by the water.
Going the other way you will pass the resistance museum about the underground opposition during the second world war, the zoo entrance and some nice pubs and places to eat.
With spring and summer arriving and temperatures raising above twenty degrees the embankments form great hangout places. And when really warm, feel free to dive in the water just like kids from the neighborhood do.