“Trussworthy” construction: Dutch city opens pedestrian bridge made of flax


In the Netherlands, a pedestrian bridge made of flax fiber, biobased resin, and polyurethane foam has been constructed in the city of Almere. 

Led by Eindhoven University of Technology, the project is intended to highlight the potential of flax to replace steel in infrastructure. 

“The EU’s action plan Bio-Economy Strategy stresses the need for a shift towards natural materials,” the project organizers told design publication dezeen. “Despite an increasing market demand, the construction industry remains hesitant to implement new natural material applications, because their material properties, especially time-related degradation properties, are insufficiently known to fully guarantee safe use for a sufficient long time.”

The Almere bridge took just over 3 metric tons of flax to construct. It is the first of three planned flax structures, with similar bridges planned for Ulm, Germany and Bergen Op Zoon, Netherlands. The engineers behind the bridges have embedded sensors to track stability and durability of the composite materials over time and in different weather conditions.