The first garden bridge of the Netherlands, the Paleisbrug (Palace bridge) of ʼs-Hertogenbosch, is well over two years old now. In these two years the garden has really developed impressively. In this short post week, it may be good to go back there to show you what it has become.
The Palace Bridge connects the developing Palace Quarter to the historic city centre of ʼs-Hertogenbosch. The bridge is called a pedestrian and cycling bridge, but as I explained in my post two years ago, in my opinion it is first and foremost a bridge for walking on which cycling is permitted. That is mainly because of how the bridge deck was designed, but even more due to the access to the bridge. The stairs do have grooves to push up your bicycle, but the stairs are very steep. Elevators take you up more easily, but they take very long. And last but not least, the cycle route around the bridge is quicker. This in contrast to the Moreelsebrug in Utrecht, that also has stairs as access, but they are really made to make pushing your bike up easy. In Utrecht, the bridge does provide a shorter route for cycling and that is also reflected on the bridge deck: a real designated space for cycling.
The ʼs-Hertogenbosch bridge – very much inspired by the High Line park in New York – became the “park on legs” that it was promised to be. It attracts a lot of people during the day as well as in the night. In 2016, a year after it was opened, the bridge won the National Steel Award in the category “Infrastructure”.
The jury report stated the following:
“The Palace Bridge has become an emotional connection that transcends belief with its primary functionality. The districts are not connected through a simple puncture, but programmatically enriched with an elevated park and recreational area that actually attracts visitors and users. The Palace Bridge fascinates both professionals and local residents. The corten steel has a human scale, enhanced by the tight detailing as is only possible in steel. Technical solutions, such as the heated surface to prevent corrosion increasing road salt, are commendable. Performing the steel truss, which spans 45 meters, above deck creates not just structural expression, but also a logical divide between the different traffic flows. A winner par excellence”.
The National Steel Award jury
Video of a night ride crossing the ʼs-Hertogenbosch Garden Bridge