The Amsterdam Nescio Bridge Revisited

I put a great cycling bridge in Amsterdam to music. Just because it is the fifth Wednesday of the month and that is neither a post Wednesday (I only post on the first and third Wednesdays of the month) nor a short video Wednesday (which I post on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month). However, this year it has become a bit of a tradition to have an extra post for you on the fifth Wednesday of a month and that is exactly what this is. For this extra post I went back to the Amsterdam Nesciobrug (Nescio Bridge). I showed you this magnificent bridge before, in a post published on 6 October 2011. I filmed for today’s post back in January 2022. At the time I knew I was going to be unable to film for some time due to my upcoming surgery. But I was back on my bicycle much earlier than I had feared and I was able to film new material sooner than I thought. That meant it took a bit longer for this footage to be used. At the moment the trees are only just losing their leaves in the Netherlands, but in the videos with this post you will see what they look like completely bare in the middle of winter.

The Amsterdam Nescio Bridge on a weekday in January 2022. The Dutch don’t stop cycling in the winter months.
The design of the bridge is exceptional with the splitting in a pedestian and a cycling part. Unfortunately the formerly white bridge has aged and became dirty and the victim of grafitti.

Because I wrote about this bridge before, I will only give you some facts about it. The video is meant to be uplifting and entertaining. I did not include a voice over, just some music.

Nesico Bridge (Nesciobrug) Amsterdam (2006)

Total length: about 780 metres
Main span 170 metres.  
Clearance over the water: about 10 metres.
Total cost: about 16.5 million euros.

The bridge deck (with a weight of 510 tons) was constructed off site, in Rotterdam, and shipped to Amsterdam (which took 2 days). The main span was then placed on site on 9 July 2005 for which the Amsterdam – Rhine Canal had to be closed for half a day. The bridge was opened on 7 June 2006.

At the time of opening the Nescio Bridge was the longest single cable suspension bridge in the Netherlands. “Suspension bridges are comparatively rare in the Netherlands”, according to Wikipedia, “because the generally soft Dutch soil makes it difficult to properly anchor the main cables at the ends. On the Nescio Bridge this was solved by anchoring the cables to the bridge itself”.

The south entrance ramp in the distance and the staircase leading to the shorter walking route.
At the top of that staircase you turn 180 degrees. That means that if people would accidentally cycle this way they wouldn’t really risk falling down the stairs, even without warning signs, because you would really have to make an effort to cycle down stairs that are going down in the opposite direction of how you arrive to them.
No signs at all to tell you which way to cycle and which way to walk, but it is instantly clear, because everyone in the Netherlands knows that red is for cycling!

The bridge was designed by Jim Eyre of Wilkinson Eyre Architects (based in London). The bridge was designed in collaboration with the engineering consultancy firms: ARUP group (also in London) and Grontmij (based in the Netherlands).

Wilkinson Eyre Architects wrote: “This cycle and pedestrian bridge is the longest in the Netherlands, spanning the [Amsterdam-]Rijn Kanaal in the IJburg district of Amsterdam. The result of a close collaboration between architects and engineers, the Nesciobrug provides a vital connection for residents of IJburg, a suburb built on recently reclaimed land north of the city, with the ‘mainland’. Simultaneously, it provides access to the extensive green space of the Diemerpark for the people of Amsterdam. […] The first suspension bridge in the Netherlands, it is also Wilkinson Eyre’s first project in the country.”

About their part in the project Arup wrote: “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.”

The Amsterdam branch of the Cyclists’ Union investigated the steepness of the access ramps. In a report they wrote: “The ramp on the south side is designed as a spiral, with two flat plateaus incorporated into it. The height difference on this side is 12 metres, an average of 3.19%. The start of the slope is considerably steeper, in some places a percentage of 7% was measured. We estimate the curve to be more than 270 degrees with a radius of 35 metres.”

The colours of the surface changed recently according to the pictures I see on Google Earth. This is an image I made when I was here in 2011. Both the areas for walking and cycling are grey and only separated by a white line.
Early 2022 the cycleway is bright red and the area for walking is almost black. This way it is much clearer which is which. The pictures in Google Earth show the bridge was all grey until at least June 2021. The September 2021 aerial picture then shows the red asphalt and even trucks on the bridge, apparently doing the repaving.

In 2006, the Nescio Bridge won the Steel Prize in the Netherlands in the category of “Infrastructure or other steel constructions”. The jury wrote: “We don’t see many suspension bridges in our country, but now we have one of an exceptional quality: the Nescio Bridge. The main span is a beautiful combination of two pylons and one suspension cable, from which the bridge deck is suspended. The bridge combines a short pedestrian route with a long bicycle route. The span becomes a true sculpture through the splitting of the bridge deck and the sudden transition of the footbridge into the spiral staircase. (…) Because of the close cooperation between architect, structural engineer and builders, an ambitious design has been executed in an exemplary manner under difficult circumstances.”

One of the 10 stamps on one sheet, portraying 10 bridges of an exceptional design, issued in 2015 by the Dutch postal service.

On 30 March 2015 PostNL (the Dutch postal service) issued a series of stamps with ten ‘relatively unknown bridges of an exceptional design’. The Nescio bridge was one of the ten featured bridges. I wrote about three other bridges on these stamps on my blog as well; the Oversteek in Nijmegen, the Hanzeboog in Zwolle, and the Jan Waaijerbrug in Zoetermeer.

My rides on the Nescio Bridge.
A video showing the Amsterdam Nescio Bridge to music.

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