The landscape around the Queen Máxima bridge consists of many layers. The oldest element is the Old Rhine river, with its meandering alignment. The embankments have been used for industrial and residential purposes since centuries. The rivers’ dikes provide a relative sturdy and safe platform for working and living. The surrounding boggy polders are man made, with rigid allotments at straight angles with the river.


Now another layer is added: the Queen Máxima bridge and its approach roads. A linear element, just like the river, fitting like an elegant guirlande in the existing palette. For us the viability of all these layers is the greatest beauty of the area. Therefore we envisage the Queen Máxima bridge as autonomous as possible in the existing landscape. Elegant like the river, functionally in line with the polders.

Our office made the design of the bridge in assignment of the contractors consortium Mobilis, Hollandia Infra and van Gelder. The landscape design has been made by wUrck.


Architecture is structure

The Queen Máxima bridge is pronounced functional. Each element of the bridge has a purpose. At the same time it is designed in such a way that it shows what it does. The Maxima bridge is designed like a car or an airplane. A useful machine, with good looks.


A beautiful and identifiable profile

The Queen Máxima bridge is a balanced tail bridge. The tails contain the counterweight that ensures smooth opening and closing of the bridge, with minimal energy consumption. The typical feature of a tail bridge is the high position of the hinge above the bridge deck. The resulting high tails give the bridge a unique profile.


Subtle detailing

The bridge is level, the fixed and moving elements fit seamlessly, also on the underside. Thanks to in situ concrete connections, the soffit of the bridge is flush over the entire length. Carefully designed edge elements render the bridge an elegant curved shape, following the alignment of the road. The columns have a subtle cone shape, adding to the visual lightness of the overall structure. Everything is working together making the world under the bridge transparant and light. The prefabrication and repetition of the main structural elements (beams, facing elements and columns) allow for high quality finishing within the budget.




Two extra staircases

The two staircases allow for a direct attainability and experience of the area under the deck: a very special world full of water and plants.

A lively ‘underworld’

The existing harbour is spared as a historic relict and is a nice mooring place for passers by. The existing Rhine quay is spared too. On the south side we have designed a water body under the bridge, which is visually separated from the river, but connected underground securing good water quality. In this way the area under the bridge is managable and lively. Thanks to the east-west orientation sunlight can penetrate deep, sparking off life. Water plants filter the run off water from the roads above. It is a good spawning place for river fish.



Energy landscape in the loop

Floating PV panels deliver all the required energy for bridge and road. The polder structure is continued inside the loop. Water run off from the road is captured here and filtered. The pv panels are floating on the water. The resulting low position allows for free views all around. A low wall in the road curve and specially designed orientation lighting prevents light pollution from headlights of cars in the surrounding meadows, which is good for the abundant birds here.


Year2014 - 2016
TypologyMoveable bridge
LocationAlphen aan den Rijn, NL
ClientMunicipality of Alphen aan den Rijn
CollaborationMobilis, Hollandia, van Gelder, wUrck, IV infra
ArchitectsSyb van Breda, Bastiaan Luijk, Menno Nooijen, Wiebe Strick, Florentine van der Vaart, Vincenzo Venturini, Tom de Weijer, Maikel Waterdrinker, Nicolai Waterdrinker