Mystery Bridge Nr. 156: A Pair of Twins in the former District of Schleswig

All photos taken in August 2021


After a three-week absence due to vacation, I’m back online in the Chronicles, playing catch-up due to some bridge-related events that happened while I was away. But I thought I would show you some of the bridges I visited during my vacation, namely the former district of Schleswig.

This district featured a region where the northern half now belongs to Denmark; the southern half to the German state of Schleswig-Holstein and it extended as far south as the Baltic-North Sea Canal and as far north as the area between Kolding and Esbjerg and includes towns like Schleswig, Flensburg, Dagebüll, Husum and Kappeln on the German side, as well as Sonderburg, Hoyer, Abernaa, Haderslev and Ribe on the Danish side. The region was a focus of two military conflicts in 1851 and again in 1864, plus German conquest under Hitler from 1940 on, when the army invaded and occupied all of Denmark. The country was reestablished in 1945 when the war end. The region of Schleswig was cut in half thanks to a referendum in 1920, and the German-Danish border today is based on that historic vote, although minorities exist on both sides of the border. Flensburg is considered a border town with 30% of the Danish population living there- the highest for a community in Germany- even though it’s technically located in Germany.

And this takes us to this mystery bridge, which features not only one bridge, but two very identical structures located on the road connecting Aventoft in Germany and Tonder on the Danish side- only five kilometers apart. The bridges themselves span the River Vida- only a kilometer apart from each other!

The bridges themselves feature a cross between a Schwedler and a Parker pony truss span because of their polygonal upper chords. The connections are welded, which places the construction date to sometime between 1890 and 1920. There are no inscriptions in the metal of the bridge. They are between 25 and 30 meters long and have a width of 3.5 meters each.

What is unique about the bridges are its outriggers. These diagonal beams that are formed at a 70° angle and found on the outer portions of a truss bridge to support the panels and lower chords of the structure. The outriggers of this bridge is found at an 80° angle, but pointed towards the inner portion of the bridge. Furthermore these outriggers are filled in, thus making it one of the most unique truss bridges I’ve ever seen.

There is no information on the bridge’s history through any of the websites devoted to even architecture and infrastructure, nor are there any local records of the bridge’s history, even in Danish. The only websites that had a photo of the bridge was a Komoot website focusing on a tour along the German-Danish border and a fishing website looking at places where to fish in Denmark.

This is why the search for the bridges’ history falls to the locals on either side of the border. What we would like to know is the following:

  1. When were the bridges built?
  2. Who designed and built the two structures?
  3. What are the exact dimensions of the bridge
  4. Are there any stories behind the bridges? Since they are located right at the border, they played a key role in border controls and the like.

Do you have any stories, history and facts behind them? Then provide a comment below or send them to me, using the contact details provided here.

I’ve restarted my project to write about the bridges of Schleswig-Holstein and would like to add the bridges to the list of others that will be highlighted. If you are interested in contributing, feel free to do so. Details on my project can be found here.



Mystery Bridge Nr. 138: The Unknown Bridge at the German-Danish Border

This Mystery Bridge entry is a joint-article written with The Flensburg Files as part of the series on the 100th Anniversary of the German-Danish Border and German-Danish Friendship.

One can see it from Google-Maps and if the skies are clear, from an airplane. Yet this mystery bridge is rather hidden in the forest and can only be reached by bike or on foot- assuming you don’t have a border to cross. This bridge is located right at the German-Danish border at Zollsiedlung, a district of Harrislee that is north of Flensburg and south of the Danish cities of Krusau and Pattburg.

Zollsiedlung at the Border. Here was where a hotel and border station located.

It’s three kilometers north of the Bridge of Friendship at Wassersleben, which is also a German-Danish pedestrian crossing. And like that bridge, this one crosses the Stream Krusau, which empties into the Flensburg Fjord. The crossing is known as the northermost in Germany and this since the creation of the German-Danish border in 1920. The bridge is accessible only by bike or on foot for there’s no cars allowed at the border.

What is known is that the bridge is a concrete beam bridge, yet judging by its wear and tear, it was probably built in the 1970s or 80s. It’s 12-15 meters long and narrow enough for one car to cross, even though the Madeskovvej is solely for bike and pedestrian use, unless you have a private residence nearby.

What is unknown is when exactly it was built and whether there was a previous structure at this location. If there was, then what did it look like?

We do know is that the bridge is owned by the Danes and is at the border that was established through a referendum in 1920. Flensburg and the areas of Tondern, Sonderburg, Apenrade, Hoyer, Husum, Schleswig and Rendsburg belonged to the former state of Schleswig which had been fought over three times between Denmark and the former Prussian (and later German) Empire. With Germany having lost World War I and being forced to pay reparations to France, Britain and the USA, the Versailles Treaty included a clause that allowed residents in the region to vote on moving the border, which had stopped at Sonderburg and Tonder in the north but had a potential to be pushed as far south as the Baltic-North Sea Canal . The present border was established through a referendum that was conducted on 10 February and 14 March, 1920, respectively, where the northern half (Sonderburg, Apenrade and Tondern) voted to be annexed by Denmark, while the southern half and Flensburg voted to remain in Germany. The votes were unanimous despite both areas having strong minorities. Flensburg remained a border town, despite having survived World War II with damages due to the bomb raids. Today, both the Danes and German are able to cross the border and do their shopping and commerce in their respective neighboring countries.

While at the bridge, it was fenced off because of restrictions due to the Corona Virus but also due to the Swine Flu that has been a major concern since 2015. Still, it didn’t stop the photographer from stealing a couple pics before moving on with hiking in the Tunnel Valley (Tunneltal), where the Krusau flows towards Niehuus. While walking towards the area, one has to wonder how this bridge came about? Any ideas?

A separate article on the German-Danish border will be posted in the Flensburg Files. If you want to tour Flensburg’s bridges, click here.


Ship rams transport ferry at Rendsburg High Bridge

Rendsburg High Bridge in Rendsburg, Germany Photo taken by the author in April 2011
Rendsburg High Bridge in Rendsburg, Germany Photo taken by the author in April 2011

Substantial Damage to the Ferry; Two people injured

RENDSBURG, GERMANY-  A key crossing in Schleswig-Holstein spanning a key waterway between the Baltic and North Seas came to a standstill this morning, as a ship heading westward along the Baltic-North Sea Canal slammed into the transporter ferry of the Rendsburg High Bridge. The incident occurred at 6:39am Berlin time, where a large ship did not stop for the ferry in time, causing a collision. A video shown below sees how the ferry swung like a pendulum after the ship hit it and moved on.

Two people- the operator and a passenger were injured in the collision, the former was transported to a nearby hospital with serious injuries, according to SHZ News. The bridge and canal were both closed down to traffic and will remain closed until further notice. According to the Deutsche Bahn, the railroad line connecting Flensburg and Hamburg, which crosses the cantilever truss part of the bridge has been closed down until bridge inspectors can determine how the collision affected the bridge decking, how much damage was caused, and when the bridge can reopen. The line carries regional and international train services going through Flensburg to Denmark.  The passengers heading north are asked to go through Kiel from Neumünster enroute to Flensburg, as well as in the opposite direction. Because the ferry was misaligned, construction crews, according to reports by Radio Schleswig-Holstein (RSH),  will need to realign it before moving it to the north shore of the canal. The ferry has substantial damage to the housing and truss structure, as seen by the photos. It is unknown when the canal will be reopened and when the ferry will be operational again. The ferry was the key link between Rendsburg and the southern suburb of Alsdorf. A detour is being planned until the ferry can be fixed.

The Rendsburg High Bridge is the only bridge in the world that has a bridge span serving traffic that also carries a transporter ferry. The transporter is one of only eight left in the world that is functional.  It is the second bridge behind the Hastings Spiral Bridge in Minnesota that has a loop approach span, which encircles much of Rendsburg’s neighborhood. Built by Friedrich Voss in 1913, the bridge is a national landmark and has received various awards on the national and international levels. A detailed article about the bridge can be found here along with videos of the bridge filmed by the author during his visit in 2011. The Bridgehunter’s Chronicles, along with sister column the Flensburg Files will keep you informed on the latest with the bridge.

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Øresund Bridge

Oresund Bridge

Author’s Note: This bridge is part of the series on the Bridges of Copenhagen, which you can click here for a guide to the bridges worth visiting, even by bike.

7.5 kilometers long, connecting Copenhagen with Malmö in Sweden, the Øresund Bridge, judging from a photographer’s point of view, may look like the European version of “The Bridge to Nowhere,” a pun that was first used in Alaska, thanks to Sarah Palin’s bill to build a bridge to an island in the Pacific. The Øresund Strait, which connects the North and Baltic Seas, is one of the most treacherous bodies of water in the world, where two-thirds of the year on average brings forth either fog, storms, high winds or even a combination of the three. Upon my visit in 2011, the strait was so foggy that one can barely see the bridge, as seen from the town of Dragør. Furthermore, despite the warm humid August weather, steam was coming out of the water, approaching the shores, as seen below:

Oresund Bridge 2

Yet, travelling across the bridge, which features a tunnel on the Danish side, a tall cable-stayed suspension bridge, and a double-decker featuring the upper level for cars and lower level for rail traffic, is an experience every bridge lover and tourist should experience once in a lifetime. I had a chance to take a ride across the bridge by taxi, going to Malmö. And despite a steep cost for the 15 kilometer trip across the now 15-year old bridge, the trip was well worth it, as seen below:

But how the bridge was built has a history of its own, which featured many delays because of hidden bombs, broken machinery because of drilling attempts, high winds, construction accidents, and other items. But how the Danish and Swedish engineers and builders managed to construct this bridge within a given time span, and make the sleak structure elegant and a record breaker can be found through a documentary below as well as a text, which you can click on here:

From an author’s perspective, crossing the bridge and seeing the view of the strait was like a Trans-Atlantic flight: it was nothing but water for the 10 minutes I went across. Yet going through the really tall, cable-stayed towers, lit up at night, brought forth awe in a way that so many people, who built the bridge, had risked their lives to accomplish not just a feat, but the feat. The feat was not only connecting Denmark and Sweden, nor was it connecting Europe from Scandanavia to the Mediterranean Sea. It was the ability to connect lands from hundreds of kilometers away. Since its opening in 1999, at least 40 crossings longer than this one have been added to a world map that has gotten smaller by the year. And while most of them have originated from China, more ambitious projects are surely in the works, including the Bering Strait crossing and possibly connecting North America with Europe over the Atlantic. These may take a generation to complete, but the Øresund Bridge shows clearly that anything is possible as far as bridge construction is concerned.

Oresund Bridge 3


Copenhagenization and Bridges

In the US, when it comes to bike trails and  bridges, they go together like bread and butter, for there are numerous examples of trails in the country where one important bridge is included.  There are Rails to Trails where former rail lines are converted into bike trails and include many iron and steel bridges in the process, like the Katy Trail, which connects St. Charles and Booneville in Missouri or the Cowboy Trail in northern Nebraska.  There are those, like the Wabash-Erie Canal Trail near Delphi in Indiana, where historic bridges are used as crossings- many of which are imported from other locations that are desolate and whose roads are no longer used, so that they have a new lease in life, like it was the case with the Gilmore Bridge, one of two Stearns through truss bridges left in the country.  And there are cases where either mail order bridges consisting of welded steel bridges are brought in to serve as crossings either because they were affordable or in some cases they replaced the historic bridges that were either deemed unsafe and had to be removed or collapsed because of disaster. The Horn’s Ferry Bridge in Marion County, Iowa (which a later article will explain about its history) is an example of such a case.

When cycling in Copenhagen, bridges and cycles go together like bread and butter but in a different fashion. As mentioned in the Flensburg Files article on Copenhagenization (please refer to the article by clicking here), Copenhagenization refers to the establishment of bike trail networks in a city at the expense of the automobile in an attempt to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which has contributed a great deal to global warming. This concept consists of including bike lanes on every main street- a concept known as sharing the road, as well as establishing bike routes going through green areas and parts of the city where one cannot reach by car. Ever since the 1950s when the concept was first developed, one will find bike routes virtually everywhere in the city, and more are being established to accommodate more bikers who seem to embrace the concept of commuting on a regular basis as a way of life in Copenhagen.

With Copenhagenization come the bridges that serve the canals and other deep ravines in and around the city.  Of the four dozen or so bridges that serve the city and the region of Kastrup), all but a couple bridges are biker friendly- meaning space is made to accommodate those pedaling those two-wheelers, whose history and success dates back to the 1780s when the first bike (a walk-a bike because there were no pedals on it) was invented. In a couple cases, individual bridges were built just for bikes alone to make the trip through Copenhagen as hassle-free as possible.  It is no surprise that city planners plan their bridges to serve two key purposes: functionality and conforming to the city aesthetically.

In Copenhagen (and in general, Denmark), the bridge landscape consists mainly of bascule bridges and as well as various forms of deck arches, regardless of the materials used for constructing them (some were built using brick while the rest were made of steel). One will rarely see a truss bridge in site. In fact, one can see a Town Lattice pony truss bridge spanning a lake at Norreport Park on the north end of the city center.  The majority of the structures were completed in the 1930s and 40s, even though there are some exceptions to the rule- these will be presented below.  However, recent developments have indicated that with the increase of cyclists roaming the streets of Copenhagen, the need for bridges to cross the bodies of water surrounding Copenhagen and the ravines consisting of small valleys- some filled with rail lines entering the city from the west and south.  In the past decade alone, as many as a dozen bridges have been built in Copenhagen, most of them located in the southern and eastern ends of the city in places like Christiania, Ørestad, and Kastrup, where much of the area has been developed along the water front. While the main purpose of these new bridges still is to function as a means of transporting people from point A to point B, many bridge engineers have come up with fashionable ways to make the structures appealing to those who either cross or go past them. While many pontists would consider these bridges too modern and bland for their taste, others have embraced them as a symbol of the city and its pride in encouraging people to use the bike instead of the car to get around.

To please both parties, I have chosen  five of the best historic bridges and five of the must see bridges that are part of the Copenhagenization process. Each one will feature a brief summary as well as a photo to provide a tourist with a chance to see them from the eyes of the bridge photographer and perhaps plan a visit to them while in Copenhagen. Please note that the Øresund Bridge is not included in this article for a separate article will be presented on this structure at a later time. For each category, there will be two that will be mentioned honorably with a couple remarks about them.

Jason’s Pics for Copenhagen’s Historic Bridges

Stormbroen Bridge

Stormbroen Bridge

Location: Slotsholmen Canal between Stormgade (near Copenhagen’s city hall) and Vindebrogade

Built: 1650/1681; rehabilitated in 1918

Description: One-span closed spandrel brick arch bridge with ornamental railings.

Bridgehunter’s comments: While the inscriptions on the concrete railings indicated that the bridge was constructed in 1650, literary sources pointed the date of 1681 as the time of its construction. Nevertheless, the bridge is perhaps the oldest bridge left in Copenhagen that is still in service.  The bridge was the main show for the Swedish Army’s attack on the people of Copenhagen in 1659. Despite gaining ground on the city, the Danish eventually gained the upper hand and drove the Swedes back over the straight, leaving 2000 dead in the process. Today, this bridge still serves traffic but in a small neighborhood east of the city center. While it may be a forgotten bridge to many, this structure still holds a lot of history for those who know about it, even when talking about it over a cup of cappuccino at the cafés located nearby or passing through it by boat.


 Højbro Bridge

Location: Canal connecting the inner harbor between Højbro Square and Slotsholmen

Built: 1878

Description: Closed spandrel wrought iron bridge with ornamental design

Bridgehunter’s comments: The Højbro is the most ornamental of the bridges serving the inner city of Copenhagen. With its lion head serving as the keystone (center point of the main span) and its colors of gold and grey, the bridge is largely noticeable by those either passing under it by boat or past or even over it by foot or by bike.

This the last of the works of Vilhelm Dahlerup, who was a prominent bridge builder in Denmark and given the recent renovation and its ability to handle multiple traffic, this bridge will remain over the canal for years to come.

Langenbro Bridge1

 Langebro Bascule Bridge

Location: Section of Copenhagen Inner Harbour carrying H.C. Andersen Blvd. and Amager Blvd. between Zealand and Amager respectively

Built: 1954 (present structure) replacing a temporary bridge built in 1930 to replace a 1903 swing bridge. Origin of the structure dates back to 1886.

Dimensions: 250 meters long with a vertical clearance of 7 meters above water

Description: Bascule Bridge (with open spandrel arch design made of steel) with closed spandrel arch approaches

Bridgehunter’s Remarks: The Langebro is perhaps the most popular of Copenhagen’s bridges per say, as it was featured in many fine arts pieces. It was a play written by Hans Christian Andersen, who was also famous for Mother Goose and other famous children’s stories. It was a scene of an attack by a reptile-like monster in a film made in 1961 entitled Reptilicus and the bridge was left in ruins as a result. And because the original bridge was relocated from London to Lake Havasu City, Arizona in 1969, the Langebro was featured as the replacement of the London Bridge in the 1971 film Geordie (the setting was also shifted to Copenhagen instead of London).  From the point of view of an architect, the bridge is the largest in Copenhagen and is one that is a must see, not only in terms of its functionality as a bascule bridge, but also in terms of its appearance with its red brick arch spans and the artwork featured along the canal next to the bridge. While it is probably inappropriate to use this bridge as an imitation of the London Bridge in Georgia, one can tell that this bridge still looks like it was built five years ago instead of almost 60 years ago and will most likely stay in service for a very long time, with a little bit of maintenance work.

Knippelsbro Bascule Bridge

 Knippelsbro Bascule Bridge

Location: Copenhagen Inner Harbor between Slotsholmen and Christiania

Built: 1937 as the fifth bridge built at the location. Designed by Kaj Gottlob.  First bridge built in 1620 and renewed 1816, 1869, 1908 and replaced with an interim bridge in 1934

Dimension: 115 meters long and 27 meters wide

Description: Bascule Bridge (span is a deck steel cantilever) with steel beam (north side) and closed spandrel arch (south side) approaches

Bridgehunter’s Remarks:  The Knippelsbro is the shorter of the two vehicular bridges spanning the Inner Harbor but is the shorter and most unique in comparison to its counterpart, the Langebro. While the bascule span looks similar to the Tower Bridge in London in terms of design and function (the two half spans open in opposite directions to allow ships to pass through), the north approach span is unique as the roadway is supported by steel cylindrical columns, which serves as hydraulic support as it lowers with the weight of traffic, making the roadway move vertically; especially when the bascule span lifts to allow ships to pass through.

This is extremely rare for a bridge, even though engineers are either building or even retrofitting many of the bridges to avoid the risk of collapse due to weight or even natural occurrences, such as an earthquake.  Veering away from the technical aspects of this bridge, the bridge dates as far back as nearly 400 years, when it was first known as the Great Amager Bridge, but had its name changed two additional times until the city settled for Knippelsbro, named after Hans Knip, who became caretaker of the bridge in 1641, collecting tolls from passersby and maintaining the structure’s upkeep. His house was located nearby and was named Knippenshus and the bridge was named Knippensbro, although it is unknown when and even more so why the people of Copenhagen embraced the official name of Knippelsbro.


Marmorbroen (Marble Bridge)

Location: Frederiksholm- Canal between Christiansborg Riding Ground Complex and Ny Vestergard which extends to Dante Plads via Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

Built: 1745

Description: Two-span closed spandrel arch bridge constructed of sandstone.

Bridgehunter’s Comments: The Marble Bridge is situated at the gate to the Danish palace and given its age and ornamentation that can be seen from the neighboring bridges, it definitely deserves its place in the royalty. The bridge is perhaps the second most ornamental bridge that can be found in the city and one that is a must see if you are by bike or by foot. It can be seen from  the bridges located on both sides of the structure.  However, given its wear and tear on the roadway (despite its cobblestone roadway, it is a rather bumpy ride across the structure) and black appearance on the ornamental designs, it would not be surprising if this bridge receives a cleansing so that it lasts another 350 years. Nevertheless, the bridge deserves to be in the top 5 because of its history and aesthetic appearance and how it conforms to the cityscape Copenhagen offers.


Holmens Bro:  Built in 1954, this single span closed spandrel arch bridge was constructed out of granite. Yet it was built to replace the bridge that was designed by Dahlerup and built in 1878. Given the fact that the present structure compromised the historic value of its predecessor and its age, it fell into this category, even though the bridge is worth mentioning and a few photos.

St. Anna's Bridge

St. Anna’s Bridge:   Spanning one of the canals going through Christiania, this bridge is one of the most forgotten of Copenhagen’s bridges, as it was first built in 1781 and redone again in 1883 and 1924. The brick arch design with some ornamentation on the railings is a real eye-catcher to the pontist and the age of the bridge and its setting makes a person feel like walking into Copenhagen’s past- say 200 years ago or so.

Christian IV’s Bro: Built in the early 1920s, this bridge is located to the south of Marble Bridge over the Frederiksholm Canal and represents an example of a steel stringer bridge built before the war. Many of these types were built throughout Denmark during the 1920s to replace the ageing wooden spans. This one had a predecessor as it was built using piers from either an iron or wooden bridge. The bridge was named after King Christian IV, who ruled Denmark from 1588 until his death in 1648. 

Sorterendebroen Arch Bridge:  Spanning the strait connecting Sydhavn and the channel leading to the Baltic Sea, this bridge is the longest fixed structure of its kind in Copenhagen and it definitely belongs to the top 10 of the longest spans (vehicular and non-vehicular) in the city. Its closed-spandrel concrete arch design can be seen from the railroad viaduct which carries the Øresundline to the airport and eventually across the Øresund-Strait to Sweden. The road that the bridge carries runs parallel and serves as a link to the suburbs surrounding the airport. While it is unknown when the bridge was actually built, judging by its structural condition, the bridge is probably at least 50 years old.  Nevertheless, it has been serving its purpose for a long time.

Kalvebobbroen Viaduct near Copenhagen Airport

Kalvebobbroen Viaduct: This is the second longest bridge in Copenhagen, behind the Øresund-Bridge, with a length of 8 km. The bridge was completed in 1987 and serves the E20 motorway, which tangents its way along the Baltic Sea Coast connecting the Kastrup region (and the airport) and the southern suburbs of Copenhagen. The bridge represents a classic example of how Danish civil engineers love to build bridges that are tall and long. After all, they need to connect one island to another.

   Jason’s Pics for Bridges and Copenhagenization:

Bryggebroen Bike Bridge

Bryggebroen Bike Bridge

Location:  Sydhavn (part of Copenhagen Inner Harbor) between Ørestad and Vesterport behind the Fisketorvet Shopping Center

Built: 2006 by Dissing and Weitling

Dimensions: 190 meters long and 5.5 meters wide

Description: Using traditional bridge type standards, the west half is cantilever deck and the east half is a beam span built on piers. Built completely of steel.

Bridgehunter’s Remarks:  For an innovative bridge engineer there is always a first when it comes to designing fancy bridges. This one was a first: a rather fancy design that fits with the modern landscape; especially in the area where it has been recently developed for accommodation and business purposes with lucid architecture- breaking the traditional designs that many architects prefer. Yet like the buildings that are using renewable energy resources and are supposed to be carbon neutral, the bridge has a unique functionality which one cannot really expect from a non-vehicular bridge.  The bridge is segregated where one lane is explicitly made for cyclist, the other for pedestrians only. This was designed for safety purposes so that the cyclists can cross the bridge with no delays while avoiding accidents involving pedestrians at the same time. It is unimaginable seeing such a bridge serve that purpose in the US and other places where a bridge is used for everyone including pedestrians and cyclists, but given the increased usage of bicycles and the expansion of bike trails especially in cities with more than 20,000 inhabitants, a plan for a bridge like this one may be in the cards 10 years down the road.

If one counts Sydhavn as part of Copenhagen’s Inner Harbor, then this bridge was the first one built in 52 years (the Langenbro was the last bridge built in 1954), but given the increase in the number of bikes in Copenhagen, this bridge will soon have company as other bridges are in the drafting phase waiting to be erected over the next 5-10 years.

Dybbølsbro Bridges

 Dybbølsbro Bridges

Location: Spanning the rail lines in Vesterport, linking the Fisketorvet Shopping Center and Kødbyen

Description:  Consists of two viaducts- both built of concrete and steel. One is used exclusively for automobiles and buses, the other for pedestrians and cyclists Both are 240 meters long.

Bridgehunter’s Remarks: Located not far from the Bryggebroen Bike Bridge at the north entrance to Copenhagen’s largest shopping center, this viaduct provides both the motorists as well as the cyclists with easy access to Copenhagen’s train station, which is about 5-10 minutes away pending on what form of transportation you use. Normally, one will find only one bridge whose outer lanes are reserved explicitly for cyclist and pedestrians. To a certain degree, one could imagine a historic bridge (be it arch or truss) being used exclusively for pedestrians while the modernized bridge serves vehicular traffic only. This modern but unique bridge is one of the rarest forms to be seen in Copenhagen not only because of its function but the fact that the viaduct is almost 1 km long and spans railways in a ravine that is approximately 20 meters deep. This duo viaduct is located at the north end of the  Fisketorvet Shopping Center, the largest mall in the Danish capital.

Teglværk Bridge

Teglværk Bridge

Location:  Over section of Sydhavn in Frederiksborg

Built: 2011

Dimensions: 97 meters long and 12 meters wide

Description: This bridge is best compared to a glass which is filled with a third of each liquid, starting with  the heaviest and ending with the lightest- like honey, jello and a fruit drink for example- and not being able to mix them together.  From a bird’s eye view, it looks like a cable-stayed bridge whose thick cables are supported by only one steel tower.  Seeing it up close and judging it by its side and oblique views, looks like a kingpost truss bridge with riveted connections. If that was the case, then it would be the rarest bridge in the world for the bridge type has long since been out of use, and in addition to that, most kingpost truss bridges built in the US and other places in the world consisted of pinned connections. There are only a few examples of those built using riveted connections today, like the Schoenemann Park Bridge in Luverne, Minnesota and the Waddell Kingpost through truss bridge located at English Landing Park in Parkville near Kansas City. Looking at it more closely and one will find by the appearance of hydraulics on the diagonal components, that this bridge is a drawbridge, spanning a section of Copenhagen’s west harbor and accommodating traffic in the newly developed region located just to the north and west of Ørestad.

This is a brand new bridge, as it was built earlier this year  and has not appeared on any of the Google or Bing Maps as of present.  But not to worry, it will appear the next time a bird’s eye view of Copenhagen is redone.  Link:

Ørestad Footbridge

 Ørestad Footbridge

Location: Over Sydhavn west of Ørestad

Built: ca. 2008

Dimensions: Unknown

Description:  To the taste of many bridge fans, this structure does not deserve to be recognized, as it is very original and bland in color. However, one must not judge a book by its cover when it comes to this steel beam bridge. Resembling a footbridge, this structure was built using the least amount of steel possible, making a person wonder how the bridge can survive extreme weather conditions, as well as numerous residents of Ørestad using it to get to the harbor from their houses. The bridge is also difficult to access as it is blocked off on the east side and access from the western edge is difficult, forcing the person to believe that the bridge is privately owned, which it probably is. By the same token however, one can get a good side view from its neighboring bridge, the Spaellandsbroen Bridge, which runs parallel to the railway and carries traffic to Kastrup.

Dyssebroen Bridge

Location: Stadsgraven between Christianshavn and Amager in Freetown Christiania

Built: 1998

Dimensions: 30 meters long and 2 meters wide

Description:  This bridge is an example of a wooden deck truss bridge, whose design comprises of a Kingpost design and whose material used for its construction was Douglas timber. The pedestrian and bicycle bridge is a replacement of an earlier wooden beam bridge built at the beginning of the 20th Century and was used for military traffic. Plans of restoring the bridge in the 1990s was scrapped when it was revealed through the dismantling process that rot was worse than anticipated. Ax and Kelle, a team of journeymen from Germany, spent a total of 2,500 hours over the course of three months building the new structure, using the piers from the old one, and making it accessible for cyclists and pedestrians.  While the columnist could not visit the bridge, a link with a picture of the 1998 structure is found below:


Amagerbro Pedestrian Bridge–  Located over a major highway in the suburb of Amagerbro, this bridge is unique to the city of Copenhagen because of its two-sided steel arch design which tilts at a 135° angle outwards, similar to a butterfly’s wing. Completed in 2008, this pedestrian bridge has won many awards on a regional level because of its unique design, even though one will see many of these bridge types painting the European landscape. Link:

The Bridges of Frederiksholm in Copenhagen

The Bridges of Frederiksholm– Known as the Danish version of Little Venice, these are a network of steel and wooden bridges connecting the apartments that exist- all over a body of water belonging to Sydhavn. While they may look bland to bridge enthusiasts, the bridges serve both pedestrians and vehicular traffic that drive in and out of one of the newest residential districts in Copenhagen- in existence since 2005.

Norreport Park Bridge

Nørreport Park Pedestrian Bridge– located at the center of the largest park in Copenhagen’s city center (located next to the train/metro station bearing the same name as the park itself), this bridge has a Town Lattice design built on steel towers and spans the center part of the lake. It is rare to see truss bridges in Denmark but even more so in Copenhagen itself as the city has at the most about 3-4 bridges of this kind overall, with the landscape consisting of beam, arch and bascule bridges. For those loving truss bridges, this 1800 structure is a beauty that is a must see while in Copenhagen. The pedestrian/ bike trail bridge is well-maintained and serves as one of the main attractions of the park.

The bridges in planning– In the next 10 years, as many as five new bridges will paint the cityscape of Copenhagen with the purpose of accommodating additional cyclists and pedestrians alike. As more people abandon the car for the bike, city planners have felt the need to make the city friendlier to these groups, while at the same time, focus on two bigger goals: make the city carbon neutral and make the city look really nice. Some of the bridges in planning include the following enclosed via links:,r:1,s:0×441.jpg&imgrefurl=,r:14,s:40&tx=85&ty=24

Of the above-mentioned bridges presented here that people should see while in Copenhagen, there is one structure that stands out alone and has become the new symbol of the city and region. Construction lasted 9 years and despite the high costs, the bridge brought the city (and the country) and its next door neighbor together. In the next article on the Bridges of Copenhagen, we will look at the Øresund-Bridge.

Author’s Note: Please click on the flickr website for more pictures of Copenhagen’s bridges, here.


Film Feature: The Building of the Fehmarn Bridge in Germany

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In the past 5-7 years, we have seen an increase in the number of films and documentaries that were either produced by public TV stations for live viewing, or had been produced years back but were recently discovered and posted on several video platforms, among them, YouTube. Many of them feature structures that are well known on a regional scale but not as well-known on a national or even international scale. Therefore, the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles will feature a Film Feature looking at the structure, either in terms of construction and/or significance or in some cases, disaster which engineers can learn from. Most of these film features will be placed under the page Literature of the Week under the subcategory Films and Documentaries, although a separate page is being considered, should the Film Feature receive numerous views and other accolades.


While digging up some information on ways to save this bridge, I came across a documentary produced over 50 years ago on this important crossing. The Fehmarn Bridge connects Germany with Fehmarn Island and is part of the Migratory Route connecting Hamburg and Copenhagen. Built in 1963, the bridge was the first one in the world that used a now-very common construction type- the basket handle tied-arch bridge. The bridge is one of two major centerpieces at the center of one of the biggest controversies in Europe, where the German Railways, German Government and the Danish Government are pushing for two tunnels and an expressway through the island of Fehmarn. However, the plan has been met with stiff opposition from politicians, locals, evnironmentalists and even bridge enthusiasts. More on the story can be found by clicking on the links below:

The Fight to Save Fehmarn Island from Progress (Flensburg Files)

Fehmarn Bridge (The Bridgehunter’s Chronicles)

But if there was another reason why such a project should be reconsidered has to do with the motive behind building the Fehmarn Bridge in the first place. The bridge was supposed to provide a key link to the island with the option of including ferry service from the island to Denmark, yet as small and environmentally sensitive as the island is, the roadway was reduced to only two lanes- the railroad line, only one track. It took 5-6 years to construct this important crossing, and this with all the factors involved: weather, wave currents and environmental factors which led to some careful efforts to build a structure that will last, but will little impact on the island. Here’s the 48-minute documentary looking at the construction of the bridge from start to finish. Even though the language of the film is in German, the film and photos speak more volumes than what is mentioned.

Viel Spaß beim Anschauen des Filmes! 🙂

To conclude this film feature, I would like to show you another film of the train trip to Fehmarn Island via Fehmarn Bridge. By even looking ahead towards the bridge and crossing it, it gives vacationers like me another incentive to visit the island. For many, it would be a first time to explore this place of beauty. For those like me, it would be a second at least, loving the island and the bridge more than the first time. 🙂

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The Fight to Save Fehmarn Island from Progress

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Co-produced with sister column The Flensburg Files

FEHMARN, GERMANY-   Last fall, the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles did a segment on the preservation of the Fehmarn Bridge, the first bridge in the world that carries the now popular basket-handle tied arch bridge span. The battle is part of the series where residents of Fehmarn Island are fighting with both the German and Danish governments to stop a project where the Migratory Bird Route, connecting Hamburg and Copenhagen, would be widened- both the highway and the railway. This includes new bridges to replace the Fehmarn Bridge and a tunnel on the opposite end connecting Puttgarden (D) and Rodby (DK). And lastly an industrial areal was planned for the island.  Unfortunately, despite the Areal being blocked earlier this year, the European Union, according to reports from the BBC, has given Denmark the green light to start the construction of the tunnel, by providing 589 million Euros in the next four years for the project.

Yet while the Danes are prepared to start work beginning this fall, residents of the island and the surrounding area along the Baltic Sea coast are up in arms against the project and have started their own initiative to stop the project.


Tourists and locals have seen the blue X’es popping up in neighborhoods, along highways and beaches and even in the skies between Hamburg and Lübeck and the island itself. The Blue-X Initiative was adopted by the group Beltretter, with the purpose of showing support for preserving the island and stopping the project from taking place. Almost one in every three households have this on their lawns as a way of demonstrating solidarity against the project. And there are many reasons for this initiative:

1. The construction of the tunnel would coincide with the expansion of the highway and rail line going through the island as well as the construction of the new Fehmarn Bridge, resulting in the island becoming a construction site. As small as the island is, and with the economy being dependent almost solely on tourism, analysts predict a loss of up to 800 million Euros (or close to $1 billion) in revenue during the time of the construction because of loss of tourism and commerce, plus additional money to improve the island’s imagery once the project was completed, which could take years to complete.

2. The project would involve a loss of sensitive vegetation and marine life that would be immense and possible irreplaceable. This includes the plan to scrap the underground tunnel similar to the Euro-Tunnel connecting France and Great Britain in favor of one above the sea floor, similar to the Oresund Bridge and Tunnel between Copenhagen and Malmö (Sweden), which could be devastating to marine life alone. The width of the construction area between Puttgarden and Fehmarn Bridge would average approximately five kilometers. The maximum width of the island is only 21.8 kilometers- and this given the size of the land to be 185 squared kilometers!

3. Some discreptancies in the environmental and economic impact surveys conducted by Denmark have resulted in rechecking the figures. Alone with the economic impact survey released in January 2015 led to a debate on the credibility of both the Danish government, the conglomerate spearheading the tunnel initiative Fehmarn A/S, and even the European Union. While both Denmark and the EU claim that the new crossings would produce a revenue of 4-5% of the gross domestic product in the region or approximately 3.48 billion Euros ($5.5 billion), other surveys indicate that the loss of revenue through construction combined with years of recovery, the new crossing would net an annual loss of 6.7 billion Euros ($8.2 billion). For the residents on the island, the risk would be too high to take.

4. While there is a one-track rail line that is suitable for transport between Hamburg and Copenhagen including the time needed to cross via ferry, there is another border crossing at Flensburg and Padborg, where they feature a freeway and a two-track rail line connecting Hamburg with Aarhus with a arm going to Copenhagen via Odense. At the present time, improvements are being made in the Flensburg area to make the crossing more attractive. While the logic behind expanding the line through Fehmarn is there, little do government authorities realize that Fehmarn is a vacation and natural area whose need for a freeway/ two-track crossing on both ends of the island would devastate the natural habitat and impact tourism negatively. In other words, better to go through Flensburg if you wish to stay on the freeway going to Denmark and not stop to go swimming.


While officials in Denmark are preparing to start building the tunnel from the Rodby end, officials in Germany are in the process of discussing the project with many parties involved. This after the application for the construction of the new Fehmarn Bridge, new freeway and tunnel was submitted to the state ministry of transport. The communities affected will have a meeting in September, followed by the environmental groups, including BeltRetter in November and residents affected by the construction afterwards. The ministry will then review the opinions and information provided by those affected before making their decision- a process that could take up to a year.  Proponents of the project have already received a backing from The German Railways (The Bahn) and German Minister of Transport Alexander Dobrindt, the former wanting to expand and electrify its rail line to run more ICE-Trains on there.

But with the opposition towards the project crystalizing and spreading beyond the region, problems will most likely excaberbate over the course of two years, especially when the blue X’es sprout up everywhere making the area as blue as possible. Since blue is the sign of clear water, the water people deserve to swim in and marine life to inhabit, it also is a sign of preserving things as they are. With more initiatives coming up and more support pouring in, there is a chance that the project could be stalled further or even scrapped. If this is the case, then there will still be some work to be done with its current infrastructure to keep it up to date, but residents will breathe a sign of relief, for having a mega-highway for the sake of expanding commerce is not necessarily what they want. In fact with all of information on the negative impacts, combined with questions involving the credibility of the sources, this project in the end will do more harm to the region than good. This is something no one is willing to gamble on.

The Flensburg Files and the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles are proud to support the initiative to preserve Fehmarn Island and its places of interest. Both columns will provide you with further updates on the latest involving the project. If you wish to take part in the initiative and want to donate for the right cause, please click on the following links. There you have information on how you can help.


Bewahrt Fehmarn (Preserve Fehmarn)

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Special thanks to Mirko Kaminski for the use of the photos, as well as Karin Neumann and Hendrick Kerlen for their help in contributing some valuable information for this story.   

Mystery Bridge Nr. 55: An Unusual Covered Bridge in New Hampshire

All photos courtesy of Scott Wagner
All photos courtesy of Scott Wagner

The next Mystery Bridge takes us to New Hampshire. We have read and heard of many stories of the Granite State losing dozens of historic bridges because of their being neglected by the local and state governments, including the Boscawen Bridge and this year the Sewall Falls Crossing. We’ve also read about the state priding themselves of their covered bridges, which are both loved and hated at the same time by many pontists.

Yet this mystery bridge brings metal and wood together, not to mention the covered bridge and metal truss bridge lovers. Located over a railroad bridge along Lakeside Avenue between Tower Street and Foster Avenue in Weirs Beach in Belknap County, this bridge presents an unusual truss design that is almost never seen nowadays. The bridge features a metal deck truss design in a shape of a Kingpost built on an incline. The outer portion has a 40° angle, whereas the inner portion has an obtruse triangular shape that is subdivided. Furthermore, the longest diagonal beam between the center span and the pier has a slight bent where the support beam meets. Looking at the trusses more closely, one can see that the connections are riveted, this putting the construction date up to the time after 1900, the time when riveted truss bridges were being introduced and proliferated with the standardization programs introduced by the states’ highway departments.


The covered portion of the bridge in the center span features a pavillion with a half cylindrical roof colored in blue. The roof is supported by four iron piers, one in each corner and that are ornamental at the railing and where the columns meet the roof. The steps appear to be made of wood.

The bridge serves as the entrance to the  Winnipesaukee Marketplace, yet it is unknown whether the bridge was built at the same time as the historic building, or if the bridge existed well before that. It is known that this bridge presents some similarities to another bridge in Germany, the Bridge of Friendship at the German-Danish border north of Flensburg, although the trusses for that bridge is not as advanced in appearance as this bridge at Weirs Beach. Plus the roadway of the bridge in Flensburg is straight, unlike the roadway of the New Hampshire bridge and its half-octagonal look. The Bridge of Friendship was built in 1920 and was renovated in 2004.

The Bridge of Friendship at the German-Danish border north of  Flensburg. Photo taken in 2011
The Bridge of Friendship at the German-Danish border north of Flensburg. Photo taken in 2011

This leads to the questions of when the bridge at Weirs Beach was constructed- whether it was at the same time as the market place or earlier- and who was the mastermind behind this unique bridge design. Why build it over the railroad tracks when trains passed through on a regular basis 60 years ago and why not build a tunnel underneath? These questions have yet to be solved. Can you help?

Post your thoughts in the comment section here, as well as those in the Chronicle’s facebook pages and the Bridges page, where you can see more photos of the bridge taken by Scott Wagner (who is to be thanked for allowing use of the pics). Your thoughts and stories/history behind the bridge will be much useful in solving this mystery.


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Fehmarn Bridge in Germany: At the Crossroads between Preservation and Progress

FEHMARN ISLAND, GERMANY-  Connecting Fehmarn Island with mainland Germany in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, the Fehmarn Bridge is unique in three different ways: its historic value, its touristic value to the region and lastly, its infrastructural value.

The bridge was built in 1963, using the very first bridge design conceptualized by an engineering firm in Oberhausen, in North Rhine-Westphalia: the basket-weave tied arch bridge. The arch design features two arches that meet at the center of the span above the roadway, with a network of diagonal beams supporting the arches. The concept of connecting Fehmarn Island with the rest of Germany was introduced in 1912, yet the plan was first realized when the Organization Todt began construction on a combination roadway/railway crossing in 1941, shortly after the Nazis had occupied Denmark thus enlarging its empire. The cost for the investment was 8 million Reichsmarks. The project was halted in 1942 and would not be continued until 1960, when the construction firm of C.H. Jucho, Felten & Guilleaume und Flender, restarted the project with G. Fischer, T. Jahnke und P. Stein of the company Gutehoffnungshütte Sterkrade AG of  Oberhausen-Sterkrade designing the blueprint of the bridge, and Gerd Hofmann masterminding the architectural aspect. It took three years to complete the project. Originally scheduled to open on 30 April, 1963, it had to be open to restricted traffic in January for ferry service was suspended due to a harsh winter. Crossing the bridge required a special permit for construction was not yet completed. This was lifted when the bridge opened to traffic at the end of April. The bridge has a double function of being a highway bridge and a railway bridge all in one, both serving the purpose of connecting Hamburg and Copenhagen.  The total length of the bridge is 1400 meters. 900 meters consisted of the bridge itself with the basket-handle tied arch span having a length of 350 meters. The rest of the length consists of approach spans, including an arch span over a road connecting Avendorf with Strukkamp.

Since its inception, many engineers have looked to the Fehmarn Bridge as reference, giving them some ideas on how to construct similar spans. Already planned are the new Bettendorf spans over the Mississippi River at the Quad Cities (replacing the twin suspension spans) as well as the Levansau Bridge over the Baltic-North Sea Canal near Kiel, using the basket-handle spans similar to the one at Fehmarn. The Fehmarn Bridge is one of the main attractions for tourists and one can see the bridge on any souvenir item available. Even the streets of Burg and its boroughs have houses decorated with the lighted Fehmarn Bridge emblem.  And most recently, the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles introduced the bridge as part of its new logo, a measure well-received by residents of Fehmarn Island as well as in the bridge and preservation communities.

Despite this, the future of the 51-year old bridge is up in the air. Plans are in the making to widen the roadway and upgrade it to motorway status. This is part of the plan to create an industrial area on the island, the proposal that has been met with opposition from residents and people associated with the island alike. According to Karin Neumann, spokesperson for the initiative “Bewahrt Fehmarn” (English: Preserve Fehmarn), the industrial group Baltic FS, a German-based group, wants to create an industrial Areal where warehouses, a industrial storage facility and factories would be created on 15 hectares of land on the island. In addition, the motorway will feature a new tunnel connecting Fehmarn with Denmark, thus eliminating the need for ferry service between Rodby (Denmark) and Puttgarden. And finally, the German Railways (Die Bahn), with support from the German Ministry of Transportation in Berlin is working together to construct a replacement for the Fehmarn Bridge. Proposals include:

  1. Three bridges while keeping the Fehmarn Bridge- one for rail traffic, one for the motorway and one for local traffic,
  2. A tunnel for motorway and rail traffic while keeping the bridge
  3. Two bridges for rail and motorway traffic but the Fehmarn Bridge would be removed.

The options were presented in August with meetings taking place in Berlin and Oldenburg (the administrative district where Fehmarn Island belong to) in September. Despite claims by die Bahn that no one would want the bridge after it is replaced, thus justifying the need to demolish the bridge, the proposal to tear down the Fehmarn Bridge was met with a protest similar to Hurricane Katrin slamming New Orleans in 2005. Local authorities and people associated with the bridge objected to the demolition proposals forcefully, claiming that Die Bahn was short-sighted and as inconsiderate as a bully in kindergarten.  Apart from wanting to keep the bridge as a tourist attraction and key bicycle and pedestrian crossing between Fehmarn and Grossenbrode, the bridge is protected by the state preservation laws of Schleswig-Holstein as it is considered a technical historic landmark. In addition, an agreement between the states of Germany and Denmark signed at the time of the bridge’s construction stated that the connection between mainland Germany and Denmark via Fehmarn Island is to remain two lanes for automobile traffic and one track for railroad traffic. According to Neumann and other sources, the agreement would need to be replaced should both Germany and Denmark want a motorway connection. But most importantly, as Neumann stated in an interview with the Chronicles, having three bridges as well as the Areal would degrade the natural and tourist value of the island, which according to latest figures, 2.5 million tourists from Germany, Denmark and elsewhere take their vacation on the island annually, and even though the total population of the inhabitants is roughly 30,000 year round, at least triple the number are on the island in the summer time, mostly for the purpose of camping, biking, swimming and visiting the villages and historic places that have existed for over 400 years.

Given the lack of experience of Baltic FS with its plan of constructing the Areal combined with the hastiness of  Die Bahn and the German and Danish governments, the idea of the Areal, combined with the idea of additional bridges at the site of the Fehmarn Bridge has been seen in the eyes of the preservation group and the locals as poorly timed, poorly thought out and most importantly, poorly communicated between the planners and the residents, most of whom are against any proposal dealing with the Areal project as well as the replacement of the Fehmarn Bridge unless there is a tunnel variant and the historic bridge is saved. This according to sources from Bewahrt Fehmarn and other locals with knowledge of the project.

The current situation is as follows: A petition drive started this summer to halt plans for the Areal project as well as the replacement of the Fehmarn Bridge. With as many as 1800 signatures, the district of Oldenburg and the state of Schleswig-Holstein have approved a referendum, scheduled for 8 March of next year, where people will have an opportunity to vote on the Areal project. Politicians in Berlin and Kiel are working together on a solution where a tunnel would be built instead of two additional bridges and the Fehmarn Bridge would be handed over to the state or Oldenburg district, which governs Fehmarn.  Given the support for their beloved island, a vast majority of the people will most likely vote against the Areal, citing the need to preserve the island as  a place of natural interest and the fact that tourism has been the locomotive of the island’s economy. Even the majority of local businesses are against the Areal project as well, for only two have favored the district, according to Neumann. In addition, although the trend is leaning toward the tunnel solution, chances are very likely that the Fehmarn Bridge will remain in service, even beyond 2020, as many politicians are claiming that its lifespan will end.

But even if residents on Fehmarn have it their way, it will not stop the project of constructing a tunnel between Puttgarden and Rodby from getting underway at the earliest, next year, replacing the ferry service. This has put pressure on the parties involved regarding how to find a solution to the problem with the Fehmarn Bridge. Yet chances are likely that if all is approved in favor of the locals, then the Fehmarn Bridge will have new life as a local and bike crossing, with the tunnel variant taking over main traffic. That would be a blessing for many who cherish their beloved structure, whose history dates far back, and whose design is the pioneer of the bridge type that is still being used to this day.

Check out the photos of the Fehmarn Bridge on the Chronicles’ facebook page, which you can find here.

If you want to know more about how you can help save the Fehmarn Bridge and stop the Areal Project, check out the Bewahrt Fehmarn page, which you can click on here for more details. Special thanks to Karin Neumann for providing some useful information for this write-up.

The Bridges of Flensburg, Germany

The Bridge of Friendship at the German-Danish border at Wassersleben. Photo taken in 2011

Flensburg, Germany: the city with lots of character. There are many factors that make the city, located at the German-Danish border unique. Given its proximity to the border, the city of 90,000 has the highest number of Danish minority living there with one in four having Danish blood. One will find many Danish stores in the city center and places to the north towards the border. The city prides itself on its local brewery, the Flensburger Beer with its 12 different flavors, which celebrated its 125th birthday this year. The city is the birthplace of rum, as the likes of Pott, Johannsen, Jensen and the like made their mark here, many of which can be seen by touring the Rum-Sugar Mile. One can tour see and learn about the ships that were built in Flensburg, let alone travel the Alexandra, the lone coal-powered ship still in operation. And if one is interested in sports, there’s the handball team, SG Flensburg-Handewitt, one of the premiere powerhouses in the Bundesliga.

And lastly, if one looks even closer, one will find some historic bridges, whose history has long since been hidden from view. In the three times I’ve travelled up there for vacation, one cannot get enough of the city’s history, especially with regards to that aspect. The bridges are scattered throughout the city, spanning all kinds of ravines, and ranging from girders, arches and even a wooden truss. This tour guide takes you to seven bridges that make Flensburg unique in itself. A couple of the bridges have been mentioned in previous articles as there is potential to find substantial information on them. And for some, it required some great effort as the photographer had to battle through a bed of thorns and Rotweiler dogs to get to the bridges. So without further ado, here is the guide to the bridges in the Hölle Nord:

Schleswiger Strasse Brücke- When getting off the train at the station, this is the first bridge you will see. Spanning the railroad line connecting Flensburg with the key points to the north and south, the two-span arch bridge is the second crossing at this site, for the first bridge was built in 1854 when the rail line was first constructed. This bridge was built in 1926 and still retains its original form. One should not be mistaken by the fact that the bridge is brand new. It has shown some wear and tear especially on the inner part of the arches. But overall, the bridge is in excellent shape and is in the running for being declared a historic landmark by the city.

Peelwatt Viaduct- Spanning the railroad line connecting Flensburg and Kiel, this viaduct was built in the early 1900s and is the tallest and longest bridge in Flensburg. The bridge is about 70 meters long and 30 meters deep, carrying Kaiserstrasse. This bridge was difficult to photograph given the number of thorns that had to be dealt with, in addition with being chased by a large Rotweiler owned by a couple having an “open air concert” during my visit in 2011. Unless you’re Nathan Holth and want to deal with scratches and bruises, this stunt should not be attempted. While the bridge had seen its better days because of cracks and falling debris, the structure was recently rehabilitated in a way that a new roadway and railings were built, making it safer for cyclists to cross. Since finishing the work this year, the bridge has been serving as an important link between the campus of the University of Flensburg and the City Center.

Angelburger Brücke- Located at the junction of Angelburger Strasse and the main highway Sudenhofendamm, this bridge has a history in itself that required a lot of researching. When I visited the bridge in 2010, the first impressions that came to mind was that it was just a girder bridge with some ornamental railings resembling an X-shape. Underneath the bridge it features V-laced truss framing that is welded together with gusset plates.  But beyond the engineering facts, if one looks more closely at the abutments, one can see the remnants of a bike shop encased into the bridge’s north abutment because of the old German lettering and a wheel resembling an old-fashioned bike from the 1930s. As the nearest bike shop was up the hill at Hafenmarkt, I sent an inquiry about this bridge after writing a mystery bridge article about it. The response was an interesting one. The shop inside the bridge was indeed a bike shop owned by the Kraft family, which housed not only bikes, but also a repair shop. That remained in business through the 1960s before being replaced with a store that sold used books and comic booklets. It was owned by Emma Voss. Shortly before its abandonment in ca. 2000, a used furniture store took its place. After sustaining damage through broken windows and other forms of vandalism, the windows were bricked shut and a bilboard took their place. However, according to the Petersen Bike Shop, who provided the information, the city is looking at revitalizing the Bahndamm which would include remodelling and reusing this unique store space. Whether and when this will be realized remains to be seen. The bridge was built in 1919 as part of the Bahndamm line connecting the harbor and the train station. It is used next to never these days. But with the revitalization plan on the table, that might change as well.

Bahndamm Bridges:  Located at the junction of the Hofenden and Hafendamm, the 1919 bridges feature not only one, but two bridges built next to each other. Each one carries a rail line just west of the split with each one caressing the harbor. Once used to transport goods from ships to the main land, both lines appear to have been abandoned for a couple decades or have seen little use. The bridges themselves are plate girder with V-laced bracings at the bottom. Its future however seems uncertain as they pose a hazard to vehicular traffic. A traffic light is right after the bridge and the lanes have become a problem, even though the city council has tried to fix it most recently.

Bridge of Friendship:  This bridge is the northernmost structure, as it is located at the German-Danish border at Wassersleben, carrying a bike trail which leads to Kursa. It is also one of the most unique structures in Schleswig-Holstein for it is not only made of lumber, but the truss design is unusual- a Queenpost deck truss but designed in a manner similar to a Queenpost pony truss- the diagonal beams connect the piers with the decking without meeting at the center. Built in 1920 but reconstructed in 2003, the BoF has symbolized the connection and friendship between Germany and Denmark, which has been that way since the 1950s. Yet up until World War II, the relations between the two countries were not always the best, as they fought each other over the lands extending from Schleswig up towards Kolding- the region known as Angeln. Yet the Battle of Dybol (near Sonderburg) in 1864 decided the border in favor of German empire, with Flensburg becoming a border town. With the exception of World War II, when Hitler invaded and conquered Denmark, the border has remained the same. Between 1945 and 1995 Danish and German guards stood at the bridge, ensuring that people can cross without incident, especially as each country had its own set of laws. Yet after the Shengen Agreement, the border bridge became a free crossing and has remained so ever since. One can see the empty border patrol station still in place today when crossing into Denmark.


Bahnhofstrasse Brücke:  Located just north of Carlisle Park on the road heading to the train station, this 1919 railroad bridge features similar lattice bracing as the Angelburger Bridge but in the form of a snowflake. The bridge was part of the rail line connecting the train station with the harbor but has been unused for the most part for a couple decades.


Tarup Railroad Bridge:  While this bridge may look like a typical deck plate girder, this 1903 bridge is located in the rural village located 8 km east of Flensburg. Interesting to note that there is a restaurant located 300 meters away from the bridge with the date saying that the railroad was in service from 1903 to 2000. Yet the information seems to be mistaken, for the bridge carries a rail line between Flensburg and Kiel, with trains running on the hour. It is possible that the train station in Tarup was discontinued in 2000 forcing many to board at either Flensburg or Husby, but more research is needed to prove that.


Lautrupsbachtal Viaduct:  The last bridge on this tour is this one. Built in 2009, the bridge spans the Lautrup Creek and several other smaller streets and a bike trail in the village of Lautrup in the eastern part of Flensburg. Despite a debate about the construction of the bridge, the it has served as a blessing, carrying traffic around the eastern end of the city, reducing the congestion, which is still a recurring problem in the city center. The bridge is the longest, measuring 500 meters, and presenting a curve. The railings also serve as a noise barrier- 10 meters tall, resembling the Ecu Viaduct in Geneva, Switzerland. A video of the crossing is presented here.

There are some more bridges that are worth visiting but could not be put on this page. Yet another bridge photographer, Fritz Wissemborski also took a tour through Flensburg in 2003 and has a set of pictures you can view here. It pretty much sums up how important the bridges were to the city of Flensburg, for it contributed to the development of its infrastructure over the years. And because talks are underway to convert the former rail line to a bike trail connecting the harbor with the train station, one will have an opportunity to see these bridges reused again, as more and more people will take to the bikes and leave their cars in the garage. This way people will know more about these structures and come to appreciate them even more than they did in the past, providing another reason to visit Flensburg apart from the rum, beer, boating and handball.

Google Map:  A map with the location of Flensburg’s bridges can be found by clicking on the link below: