The design of the Nelson Mandela Bridge is inspired by the industrial context of the Beverkoog. The bright red bascule mechanism is one-of-a-kind and a deliberate eye-catcher. The slender hollow pillars are designed to hide the hydraulic jack and moving mechanism from view. The pillar shape is expressive and dynamic and illustrates the bridge’s ability to be lifted.

Transparency and clarity are key to the design of the Nelson Mandela Bridge. The pillars are kept slender and the space underneath the deck is as open as possible to prevent visual cluttering under the bridge.  As a result, the electromechanical control room has been relocated from inside the pillars to inside the abutments. 


The bridge deck is a smooth and continuous line over the water. The equal spacing of the pillars lends a clear rhythm, symmetry and visual calm to the design. All traffic control systems and traffic lights on top of the bridge are clustered together in the vertical axis of the pillars. The edge elements and parapets are bright and smooth and accentuate the slim look of the bridge.

ClientProvincie Noord-Holland/Gemeente AlkmaarPeriod2013-2016
LocationAlkmaar, The NetherlandsServicesArchitecture, Project Management, Structural Design 
ScopeTotal lenght 67m, lifting deck 22,5 by 14,5mTeamJoris Smits, Sven Spierings, Liesbeth Tromp, André Fase