The Blauwe loper (‘Blue carpet’) is a 800-metre-long bike bridge that will connect Winschoten to Blauwestad (‘Blue City’, a new village being built on reclaimed land) Groningen, making it Europe’s longest bridge for cyclists and pedestrians. It might also end up being a whole kilometre long if they connect it to the middle of the new town, and should be completed in late 2020.
It will be painted ‘bat-friendly’ green, with LED lighting designed to help the bats commute from the nearby nature reserve to the Oldambtmeer (‘Oldambt lake’). The bridge has been designed to last for at least 80 years and is made from wood sourced from Gabon, Africa. The wood has some sort of venting system rather than being pressed together, explains project leader Reinder Lanting.
Europe’s current longest bike bridge is 756 metres long and is located in Sölvesborg, Sweden, extending across the Sölvesborg Bay. However, the Xiamen Bicycle Skyway in China, designed by the Danish design firm Dissing + Weitling, is a whopping 7.6km long.
Although there’s not always something to see, there’s a webcam link if you like to watch Dutch motorway traffic when there’s no bridge construction.
Why come to the Netherlands when you can go to Denmark? Dutch television show ‘Zondag met Lubach’ made a video called ‘Do not come to Holland’ in English with Dutch subtitles. Spoiler alert: no mention of drugs or prostitution.
Firstly, don’t call the country ‘Holland’, especially when a lot of refugees are settling in outside the provinces of North and South Holland. The locals will think you’re trying to co-opt their karma points.
The ‘Dunglish’ voice-over was done by someone who had fun switching from an American over-the-top movie trailer style voice to a fake posh British accent you hear in safety instruction videos on KLM. It’s also weird to hear someone faking a British accent and then using the word ‘soccer’ instead of ‘football’.
The Dunglish translation of ‘there goes nothing above Groningen’ is cringeworthy: try ‘Nothing tops Groningen’ for a proper translation or ‘There’s nothing above Groningen’ to keep the Dutch humour flowing. The video does make up for it with “Come to Denmark: it’s the Netherlands, but somewhere else”, which is the very polite version of the talk down the pub as far as accepting refugees in the country at the moment.
For any kind of social commentary on how the Dutch government has cocked up the welcoming of refugees, read the Dutch papers. Or don’t.
(Image: screenshot of ‘Do not come to Holland’ video)
Onix from Groningen (and from Helsingborg, Denmark) were unanimously declared Architect of the Year 2010 last week. The jury praised among others the power of their innovation, their craftsmanship, their consistent societal attitude and their sense of responsibility.