Calatrava in Nieuwe Vennep

In Amsterdam in May, 2005  i  read that Santiago Calatrava had built three of his cantilever pylon bridges south of Amsterdam between Hoofddorp and Nieuwe Vennep.  Kept mentioning this to Rina until she finally got curious about them.

So we headed in her car on the freeway toward Schipol with the idea of cutting west over to the bridges when we could see them. At some point below Hoofddorp I spotted what I thought was the mast for one bridge, so we took the exit for Nieuwe Vennep  and turned right on the road running along the east edge the canal.

Not so sure this was the right canal, Rina pulled up to a couple of guys accessing an ATM, and we bailed out of the car. Before we got up to the guys, Rina, with the exquisite chauvinism exhibited by city dwellers everywhere, articulated her fear (and mine) that these local yokels wouldn’t know anything about bridges by some weird Spaniard. So she led the inquiry by telling the guys that I’d come from all the way from California specifically to see these bridges. Then I chimed in that they were by the Spanish engineer Santiago Calatrava, and one of the guys just lighted up with delight over our interest.

We city folks must remind ourselves that after they’ve finished milking the cows and digging up the potatoes, village people often learn to read and write, not to mention appreciate beautiful engineering and take pride in having it locally.  Turned out all three bridges were just straight ahead. The first was the big one. So big, in fact, that Rem Koolhaas made the somewhat snarky observation that it seemed excessive to build a hundred meter bridge over a ten meter canal. Well, maybe he’s right, considering that there’s no flood plain, but it sure is a beautiful hundred meters.

Calatrava's Nieuwe Vennep bridge

Rina stopped the car and we explored the bridge, me snapping pics like mad.  Here’s the underbelly.

Calatrava's Nieuwe Vennep bridge

And the mast.

Calatrava's Nieuwe Vennep bridge

And another of the mast.

Calatrava Bridge at Nieuwe Vennep

OK, a last one of the mast.


We also drove past the other two bridges although the light was fading and I got only one more shot.  About this one Koolhaas can’t complain, as it’s not a centimeter longer than it has to be.

Calatrava Bridge near Hoofddorp

Note: Better photographs of Calatrava’s work can be found on the excellent website of José Miguel Hernández Hernández  and in his book, Turning Torso, where he published two of my photos of this bridge as well as two I took of the Sundial Bridge in Redding, CA.  He’d somehow managed to find this post on my website and asked for permission to use my photos, which I of course granted.  He mailed me a hard copy of the book, and I was delighted to see my photos there, complete with credits to me.

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