The city of ʼs-Hertogenbosch has an elegant bridge for walking and cycling. It connects the historic city centre to the first expansion outside the mediaeval city. The design goes so well with its surroundings that the bridge was instantly loved and people have the feeling it has always been there.
To be perfectly clear, the bridge has indeed been there for quite a while now. I have such a long list of topics for blog posts that some of the material I film is on the shelf for months, or in this case close to two years. The new Maria bridge was opened in February 2016. But I still think it is interesting to look at how it came to be and what the ideas behind the design were.
The old Maria bridge had to be replaced, because the early 1950s concrete of the former bridge was decaying. The concrete was so damaged that there was a genuine risk that the structural integrity of the bridge was lost, so it had to be closed to the public. The bridge is a vital connection between the historic city centre and the oldest neighbourhood outside the original fortification, which includes the main railway station of ’s-Hertogenbosch. That meant a replacement bridge had to be designed quickly, but fortunately that doesn’t show in the actual bridge. The architect of the bridge was Syb van der Ploeg & Co. A name that you could read on my blog in an earlier post. This company also designed the spectacular cycle bridge in Zoetermeer.