Jan Schaefer Bridge

Amsterdam (NL), 2001



Where ships were once offloaded, a new district has been developed, the eastern port area of Amsterdam. To provide access to Java Island while keeping the port accessible for inland shipping, a bridge was designed with two sections that could open in order to accommodate Sail Amsterdam – the tall ships show held every five years. Our custom-designed bridge cuts straight through the heart of the municipal heritage Pakhuis De Zwijger warehouse which was destined to be converted into a conference center for urban issues. The bridge’s rise from the Piet Hein Kade is just steep enough to allow pedestrians and cyclists to cross at quay level, while providing sufficient height for the inland river craft to pass. In addition to a monofunctional traffic bridge, it also offers multiple public promenades and bicycle lanes for the local community.

Thus, the Jan Schaefer Bridge spans the 200-metre IJ Port of Amsterdam, provides access to Java Island and extends the arterial road that runs from the city center to the water. This route, which runs over the Mariniers Bridge and under the rail viaduct, culminates by passing under Pakhuis De Zwijger. It is at that point that the traveler can fully experience the Jan Schaefer Bridge and the expanse of the IJ River. The shape of the bridge generates a multiplicity of experiences. An intricate web of connections divides the bridge into separate flows of traffic; the climb and descent on each route has been geared specifically according to the speed or slowness of the relevant mode of transport.

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Name: Jan Schaefer Bridge
Location: between the Oostelijke Handelskade and Java Island, Amsterdam (NL)
Program: a 285 m fixed bridge across the IJ River for motor vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists
Assignment: schematic design, design development and aesthetic direction
Period: 1997-2001
Status: Built
Client: Amsterdam Development Corporation (OGA)
Publications: Architizer


VenhoevenCS: Ton Venhoeven, Mirjam Galjé, Cas Bollen, Mark Linneman, Beat Ferrario, Paul Landman, Knut Kruse, Arjen Zaal, Matthijs Klooster
Main contractor:Ballast Nedam (concrete) and Hollandia (steel)
Structural engineer:IBA
Building physics:Peutz & Associes B.V. | IBA
Lighting consultant:Kees van de Lagemaat lightdesign
Cost consultant:IBA
Artist:Marc Ruygrok and Aernout Mik
Images: Luuk Kramer, Jorgen Koopmanschap, P. Eelenbaas, Sjur Aartun, Roy del Vecchio, VenhoevenCS