Day 206/365 of Steel – De Hef

De Hef is the popular name of the Koningshavenbrug, a railway lift bridge over the Koningshaven in Rotterdam that has been decommissioned for rail traffic since 24 September 1993. The bridge was designed by engineer Pieter Joosting.

This bridge was the first of its kind in Western Europe. Joris Ivens made an avant-garde film about the Hef entitled The Bridge in 1928. The bridge, typified by its green colour and steel construction, symbolises the city’s industrial past. From 1927, it served as a swing bridge, but after several congestions and collisions, it was decided to replace it with a lift bridge.

The old tracks on De Hef
Fig 2: The old tracks on De Hef
Photo: Mb90 

The Hef is a striking lift bridge consisting of three segmental arched lattice spans of riveted wrought iron resting on concrete stone-clad piers in the water and bridge abutments on either side of the Koningshaven.

Underside of the De Hef bridge
Fig 3: Underside of the bridge

On the piers are two tapered circa 60m-high towers consisting of an open steel structure of trusses and girders. Between these is the 52m-long middle segment of the bridge, the so-called trap, which can be raised to a height of about. 45m by means of a movable lifting structure of wheels, cables and concrete counterweights. 

The southern tower of De Hef in 2015, when the lift span was temporarily removed during bridge renovation
Fig 4: The southern tower of De Hef in 2015, when the lift span was temporarily removed during bridge renovation
Photo: Michielverbeek

Earlier this year, it was rumoured that the middle section of the bridge would be dismantled to allow Jeff Bezos’ yacht, which is being built at Oceanco, to pass through. Following protests from Rotterdammers and the announcement that the superyacht would be pelted with rotten eggs when passing, it was announced at the end of June 2022 that the plan to dismantle had been dropped.

About the Author:

Bruno Dursin – Managing Director at Believe in Steel. Bruno has more than 30 years of experience in promoting steel & steel solutions. His clients benefit from his extensive network within the building industry.

You May Also Like

Day 19/365 of Steel – The Gherkin

On the 28th of April 2004, The Gherkin was officially inaugurated. Norman Foster (architect) and Ove Arup (engineering) created a true masterpiece in skyscraper engineering. The Gherkin is an example…
Read More

Day 2/365 of Steel – Roy Hofheinz

Roy Hofheinz was born on the 10th of april 1912. As co-owner of HSA (Houston Sports Association) he was the driving force behind the construction of the famous Astrodome. The…
Read More

Day 29/365 of Steel – Menashe Kadishman

Menashe Kadishman (21/8/1932 – 8/5/2015) I discovered Kadishman’s work during our visit to the Jewish Museum in Berlin.The Memory Void, one of the symbolic spaces on the ground level of…
Read More