This Incredible Drawbridge Lifts a Chunk of Road over Water to Let Boats Pass Through

Jessica Miley

The Slauerhoffbrug in Leeuwarden in the Netherlands is hands down the coolest drawbridge we have ever seen. Designed by Emile Asari the fully automatic bridge swings a slice of the road in and out, allowing boats to pass underneath. The square of road that swings up is 15 m by 15 m and painted in yellow and blue, to represent Leeuwarden's flag.

Technically the bridge is a bascule bridge, these are moveable bridges that employ a counterweight to balance a span or leaf through its upward swing. Generally, these are used over water. The opening of the drawbridge allows water traffic to pass while the traffic is stopped. Many traditional bascule bridges are double-leaved, meaning that have two moving parts that open outwards. These are the typical kinds of bridges you might have seen in classic car chases. Our favourite of these is from the awesome Blues Brothers film, set in Chicago. 

The Slauerhoffbrug is unique in that it has two arms that swing a section of road in and out of place. The bridge utilizes just on pylon rather than hinging in a double-leaved bridge.

The Netherlands might have the most number of bridges in the world. As a country dominated by canal systems bridges are required to get people over the water and in some cases like the Slauerhoffbrug, these bridges also move to let boats pass underneath. There are over 2400 bridges in Amsterdam alone. Though none as impressive as this huge chunk of the road being elevated over the water!