NEXT architects
Purmerend, Netherlands | View Map
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© Andras Schuh / NEXT architects


NEXT architects as Architects


The Melkwegbridge (the Netherlands) crosses the Noordhollandsch Kanaal and connects the historic centre of Purmerend with the growing Weidevenne district in the south-west. The bridge is the first stage in a masterplan for the canal and its periphery.

“The aim of the design team was to create a new area with a specific identity, which could work as a connector between the old and the new centre.”

The most striking part of the bridge, designed by NEXT architects, is a massive arch which reaches a height of 12m above water level and stands in a continuous line with the Melkweg-road, thus offering an incredible view over the city. The high lookout gives pedestrians the opportunity to take a step back from their daily environment and, on a new level, experience the relation between the new and historic city of Purmerend. The lower bicycle deck is made out of a 100m long bicycle deck that crosses the water like a pendulum. The length of this deck was necessary due to the minimum slope conditions for bicycles and wheelchairs.

Seperating cyclists from pedestrians, gave the opportunity to maintain the direct line of the historics Melkweg (Melkroad) within the bridge. The pedestrian bridge weighs 85 tons, consists of 130 steps and is supported by a steel arch. The design makes it able to retain the spatial openness of the channel and its surroundings. At 12 metres, this arch is high enough to allow boats to pass beneath; The lower deck splits into two parts that revolve open when boats are approaching.

Both bridge sections flow smoothly into each other and form one whole. This unity is enhanced by the continuity of materials and colors. In the edges of the bridge LED lines are applied that follow the contour of the bridge and guarantees a spectacular view on the bridge even after sunset.


The Milky Way Bridge is part of the Master Channel Jump and forms the new connection between the Weidevenne district and the historic city center of Purmerend. These two areas are separated by the North Hollandskanaal that was built in 1824 to connect the head of North Holland Amsterdam. The area around the canal had long been the character of a periphery of a busy highway, petrol station and a bus station that caused a lot of inconvenience. With the construction of the Weidevenne district changed the position of the channel outskirts of a central zone in the city.

In 2007 the municipality of Purmerend a closed competition for a master plan for the Channel Jump. NEXT architects won this contest with the proposal to create its own quality which can be the nautical character of the area and an enhanced coupling of the Canal a new area with its own specific target on water quality in the city can be added.

The master plan includes a total of two new bridges, a new bus station on the water, a small harbor, a theater square near the lock and a boardwalk that these elements are connected. NEXT architects was commissioned to draw up the master plan and make for the southern part of the plan, Tramplein. An urban design NEXT then developed the architectural design to the Galaxy Bridge and the adjacent bus square.

The first phase of the plan, the Milky Way Bridge, 2012 was inaugurated in November.

Design Having to meet the slope requirements for bicycle and wheelchair traffic requires more than 100 meters length. We have therefore chosen to link the pedestrian traffic. Bicycle and wheelchair traffic loose The pedestrian traffic is high arc over the channel, reaches a height of twelve meters and thus offers an opportunity to view: the relationship between old and new is perceptible here.

The bridge is thus more than the fastest possible transition, it is a goal and attraction in itself. Because the pedestrian traffic is separated from the bicycle can be maintained the footbridge the direct line from the galaxy towards the center. The bike bridge makes a pendulum over the water, that sufficient length is made to minimize. The slope of the cycle

The pedestrian bridge is supported by a steel arch. The advantageous construction enables the openness and in perspective over the channel to retain. Between the fixed landings of the bicycle bridge is the movable bridge part that consists of two steel scissors. The bridge can be seen as two swing bridges constructive.

The various bridge sections will flow into each other and form a whole. The rejuvenating deck accentuates the smooth, continuous lines of the bridge. The edges of the bridge are lined wooden parts. The unity between the two bridge sections is enhanced by the continuity of materials and colors. In the edge of the bridge LED lines applied in the dark illuminating the contour of the bridge.

Takes into account the management and maintenance of the bridge. During the design choices Below is understood to include the preservation, coating (anti-graffiti), detailing and drainage. In the application of steel concrete with optimum use is made of structural characteristics of the materials. The decision to manufacture the steel bridge parts in the yard and conservation results in a bridge of high quality and low maintenance.

Product Spec Sheet

ManufacturerCarl Stahl Architecture
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