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Nescio Bridge, Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Netherlands' award-winning suspension bridge.

The Netherlands’ first suspension bridge for cyclists and pedestrians bridges the Amsterdam Rhine canal to the new suburb of IJburg. Spanning the canal 10m above the water, the bridge gives enough clearance to allow commercial boats unrestricted access to the waterway.

Arup designed the bridge’s steel spans.The mono-cable, self-anchored structure curves to follow the natural course for cyclists. It splits in two at both ends to separate pedestrians from cyclists and to improve the stiffness of the structure.

Angus Lowe, lead engineering designer, reflects on Arup's approach to the engineering challenges of the bridge.

The cross-section of the bridge changes fluently from a deep triangular section at mid-span, where stiffness is needed, to a shallow section that merges into the concrete approaches. The angle of its sides makes it 'stealthy' to radar, ensuring it does not impede shipping.

Our specialists conducted a wind tunnel test to ensure the 220m-long bridge would be stable in the wind. They also designed tuned mass dampers to prevent the bridge from wobbling as people walk across.

The fluid form of the bridge, coupled with the varying cross-sections of the steel box girder deck, makes a striking and harmonious compostition. And the bridge, which has won several awards including the 2007 IstructE Pedestrian Bridges Award, has been welcomed as an excellent gateway to the new suburb.