Van Hasselt bascule bridge
Amsterdam (NL), 2004
The Bascule Bridge over the Van Hasselt Canal is an important link in various routes through the port area of Amsterdam North. Intensive port activities still take place here, with the resulting consequences for the dimensions of the bridge. In future, this area will gradually be transformed into a new bit of city within the port. The design of the bridge anticipates these changes by focusing attention on the recreational function it will also serve in the future.
From a distance, the bridge frames the view over the IJ River. In order not to break the arc of tension from quay to quay and to allow an unobstructed line of sight under the bridge, the bascule cellar was positioned under the water level. When the bridge opens, the bascule section is lifted high above the road surface, so people on the road and quays can look under it. The quay on the northeast side is elevated, so the lowered recreational quay runs under the bridge.
The bridge ties into the asymmetrical profile of the canal: maritime utilitarian for the heavy traffic on the southwest side, recreational on the sunny northeast side. By concentrating the heavy traffic on one side of the bridge, the other side becomes a boulevard. Like many Amsterdam bridges, this one has a secondary recreational function. A wide staircase descends to a landing at the foot of the bascule. In the middle of the water, the bridge is also a place to sit and relax, offering benches, fishing spots and a jetty for canoes and smaller boats.