|Province||North Holland, South Holland, Utrecht|
|Water board||Amstel, Gooi en Vecht|
|Municipalities||Nieuwkoop, Uithoorn, De Ronde Venen, Amstelveen, Ouder-Amstel, Amsterdam|
|Source||Aarkanaal / Drecht|
|• location||Nieuwveen, South Holland|
|Amsterdam, North Holland|
|Length||31 km (19 mi)|
The Amstel (Dutch: [ˈɑmstəl] (listen)) is a river in the province of North Holland in the Netherlands. It flows from the Aarkanaal and Drecht in Nieuwveen northwards, passing Uithoorn, Amstelveen, and Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, to the IJ in Amsterdam. Annually, the river is the location of the Liberation Day concert, Head of the River Amstel rowing match, and the Amsterdam Gay Pride boat parade.
The name Amstel and the older form Aemstel are derived from Amestelle, which is a compound of the words aam or ame meaning water and stelle meaning solid, high, and dry ground. In the 12th century, Amestelle was used for the area or gouw that was closed in by the rivers Amstel and Bullewijk and the bay IJ. Between the 12th and 14th century, the area was developed and ruled by the Van Amstel family. The river Amstel was named after this land area.
Between 1525 and 1990, the water board or hoogheemraadschap of the area through which the river flows was Amstelland (Amstel Land), a name still in use for the region. The names of the settlements Amstelhoek (Amstel Bend), Amsterdam (Amstel Dam), Nes aan de Amstel (Headland upon Amstel), and Ouderkerk aan de Amstel (Old Church upon Amstel) on the banks of the Amstel were derived from the river's name.
Amstel route map
The Amstel begins where the canal Aarkanaal and the river Drecht meet, just north of the village Nieuwveen in the province of South Holland. Here the river forms the border between the provinces of South Holland and North Holland and flows in northeastern direction.
The Amstel passes the hamlet Vrouwenakker and is then joined by the tributary river Kromme Mijdrecht. On the northern bank is the town Uithoorn and on the southern bank is the village Amstelhoek. Here the river forms the border between the provinces of Utrecht and North Holland.
On the western bank is the town Amstelveen, where there is a small island in the river named Amsteleiland, and on the eastern bank the town of Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, where the river is joined by the tributary river Bullewijk. After this the Amstel flows into the city of Amsterdam.
In Amsterdam, the canals Duivendrechtsevaart and Weespertrekvaart are tributaries to the Amstel. There are several historical bridges crossing the river, among which are the Berlagebrug, Magere Brug, and Blauwbrug.
In the city center, the river is connected to several city canals, which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Amstel Hotel, Royal Theater Carré, Hermitage Amsterdam, city hall in the Stopera, and Allard Pierson Museum are located on the eastern bank of the river.
A nationally televised concert is held on the river every year on Liberation Day. The rowing races Head of the River Amstel and Heineken Roeivierkamp are held on the river annually. The river also forms part of the route of the Canal Parade, Amsterdam's annual floating gay pride parade.
The river has been depicted by many artists, including:
- Aert van der Neer (1603–1677)
- Rembrandt (1609–1669)
- Willem Witsen (1860–1923)
- George Hendrik Breitner (1857–1923)
- Piet Mondrian (1872–1944)
- "Amstel" (in Dutch), Woordenboek der Nederlandsche Taal, 1889/2007. Retrieved on 29 October 2020.
- G. van Berkel & K. Samplonius, "Amsterdam (Amsterdam, NH)" (in Dutch), Nederlandse plaatsnamen verklaard, 2018. Retrieved on 10 October 2020.
- "Nederlandsche plaatsnamen" (in Dutch), Onze Taal, 1942. Retrieved on 29 October 2020.
- "De geschiedenis van Amsterdam" (in Dutch), Municipality of Amsterdam. Retrieved on 29 October 2020.
- "1200-1585: de voorgeschiedenis. De Heren van Aemstel" (in Dutch), Municipality of Amsterdam. Retrieved on 29 October 2020.
- "Stamboom met schematische voorstelling van opgeheven vroeger zelfstandige besturen van rechtsvoorgangers in het werkgebied van hoogheemraadschap Amstel, Gooi en Vecht" (in Dutch), Historisch archief van Waterschap Amstel, Gooi en Vecht, 2007. Retrieved on 29 October 2020.
- G. van Berkel & K. Samplonius, "Amstelhoek (De Ronde Venen, U)" (in Dutch), Nederlandse plaatsnamen verklaard, 2018. Retrieved on 23 October 2020.
- G. van Berkel & K. Samplonius, "Nes aan de Amstel (Amstelveen, NH)" (in Dutch), Nederlandse plaatsnamen verklaard, 2018. Retrieved on 23 October 2020.
- G. van Berkel & K. Samplonius, "Ouderkerk aan de Amstel (Amstelveen, NH)" (in Dutch), Nederlandse plaatsnamen verklaard, 2018. Retrieved on 23 October 2020.
- Jerzy Gawronski & Peter Kranendonk, "The River Amstel", Municipality of Amsterdam. Retrieved on 1 November 2020.
- Media related to Amstel at Wikimedia Commons