The feats of engineering that have enabled road & rail bridges to be built in the mountainous regions of Scandinavia is nothing short of mind boggling.
Cutting right through mountains, traversing raging rivers and spanning majestic fjords, they have been built with hard toil and ingenious design.
Best of all, they not only blend with the incredible landscapes but they actually enhance it if anything.
Couple that with some atmospheric canal bridges in the likes of Amsterdam, Bruges & Stockholm, and you get a rich tapestry of crossings throughout Northern Europe.
Here are some of my favourites.
For me the highlight of Amsterdam is to wander through the canal district criss-crossing the waterways via the dozens of little bridges constructed from stone or iron.
The best thing to do is to dispense with your map and forget any notion of knowing where you are headed!
I am not sure whether the bridges have names or not, but that doesn’t matter a jot. They are beautiful by day and atmospheric by night, certainly adding to the allure of the fabulous Dutch city.
A standout bridge in the ‘Dam is the Python or High Bridge, which is designed to let taller ships pass under.
It is a footbridge that we crossed on the way to the wonderful Hermitage Art Gallery.
No chance of being spooked by cyclists either!
The second city of Rotterdam is one of Europe’s busiest ports, standing on the Nieuwe Maas, a tributary of the Rhine.
The Willemsbrug spans the river and was completed in 1879.
I visited Luxembourg twice on my inter-rail trips of the late 1980’s and really enjoyed my time there.
My memories are rather sketchy and my photos equally grainy, but the red bridge spanning a gorge sticks in my memory above any other landmarks.
The Grand Duchess Charlotte Bridge was completed and unveiled in 1965 – just like me!
The Storstrøm Bridge is special for a very good reason as it was part of my inter-rail journeys in 1989 & 1992 when Scandinavia was the focal point of my travels.
The experience of the train shunting on to the ferry in two halves as it travelled on the Puttgarden (in Germany) to Rødby (in Denmark) route, was thrilling.
Sadly this will be a thing of the past very soon, with a tunnel being built to cut journey times but also cutting the fun, all in the interests of progress.
The Storstrøm Bridge itself is a road and rail bridge that was completed just before the start of WWII. It crosses a stretch of water known as Storstrømmen between the islands of Falster and Masnedø.
It is over 3 kilometres long and nine metres wide.
Staying in Denmark and remaining on the theme of rail & road bridges, the 18 kilometre long Great Belt Bridge was completed in 1997.
The journey across the Great Belt between the islands of Zealand and Funen can now be completed in ten-minutes, a fifty-minute saving on the old ferry journey.
Copenhagen has many waterways traversing the centre, which looks particularly inviting on a snowy day.
Connecting Copenhagen with Malmo, the Øresund Bridge opened in the year 2000 and has been hugely popular ever since, especially with Danes buying property in Malmo at considerably lower prices than the Danish capital, and then commuting to work.
Swedes it is said make the opposite journey for the bright lights and cheaper alcohol!
I have only viewed the bridge sadly, but aim to cross it one day.
I have rattled over many bridges during my train tours of Norway, but you never really get the chance to photograph them properly.
My favourite train journey has been from Trondheim to Fauske inside the Arctic Circle, where engineering is particularly daring, plus of course I have travelled the Ofoten & Iron Ore lines that take you from Narvik on the North Sea in Norway to Kiruna, Gallivare & Lulea on Sweden’s Baltic Coast.
I wish I had more pictures, but I did get a few decent shots during my January 2018 visit.
The Hålogaland Bridge is a suspension bridge that crosses the Rombaksfjorden in Narvik and only opened in December 2018.
The photo below was taken from the train on the way to Abisko in Sweden, whilst the bridge was receiving its finishing works.
Talking of Narvik, the bus journey there from Fauske has to be one of the most picturesque anywhere.
You skirt around fjords, take a ferry and of course cross a number of bridges. Here are a couple of examples on the route.
The breathtakingly situated city of Tromsø in northern Norway is a city that spreads over several islands.
Connecting the city centre on the island of Tromsdalen and the residential island Tromsøya, Tromsø Bridge is just over 1 kilometre long.
The cantilever bridge crosses the Tromsøysundet strait, the dramatic fjord that cuts through the city.
There is also a well known bridge in Trondheim, Norway’s former capital. It is referred to as the the Old Town Bridge, whilst the interesting gates erected upon it are known locally as the Gates of Happiness.
Stockholm is also a city the is surrounded by water, encompassing 14 islands and more than 50 bridges on an extensive Baltic Sea archipelago.
The old town (Gamla Stan) is where you find the Swedish capital’s finest buildings and bridges.
The Finnish capital is another Scandinavian city where the sea plays an important part, situated on the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea.
One of Helsinki’s highlights is to take a ferry to the military island of Suomenlinna. There you can clamber around the old fortifications and enjoy a haven away from the city centre.
On a recurring Scandinavian capital theme, the city has been built around water, a perfect landscape for strolling and cycling.
Like Amsterdam, the pretty Belgian city of Bruges is dominated by a series of canals. No great bridges to speak of, but a boat trip around the waterways is a great way to spend a few hours.
I know that Scandinavia has plenty of amazing bridges – are there others that you have seen on your travels?
A good selection Will. Disappointed however not to see the Humber Bridge in the Northern Europe section. Maybe you have a complete post coming up about the UK?
This post was Scandinavia & Benelux. UK is actually tomorrow.
I will wait and see!
I expect to see Humber Bridge, Tees Transporter, Clifton Suspension Bridge, Forth Road Bridge and the Menai Suspension Bridge.