Wednesday, 16 March 2011

What to see: The Western Bridge, Stockholm

One third of the surface of Stockholm consists of water. It is a city built on islands linked by bridges and among these the Western Bridge (Västerbron) is perhaps the most beautiful and also the most appreciated.
Until 1935 the Sluice (Slussen) in central Stockholm was the only bridge east of Strängsnäs linking Södermanland and Uppland, but the explosive increase in traffic made obvious the need for another bridge, this time between Södermalm and Kungsholmen.
An international contest was held in 1930 and won by German architects and engineers, but instead one settled for a rather similar design by the Swedish architects Birger Borgström, David Dahl and Paul Hedqvist, constructed by the engineers Ernst Nilsson and Salomon Kasarnowsky.
The bridge was built between 1931 and 1935 and was hailed as a feast of engineering. It consists of two arches measuring respectively 168 and 204 metres; the latter remains unsurpassed in Sweden to this day.
Many others and poets have written about the Western Bridge or sung its praises. Some unhappy persons have jumped to their deaths from it. And many couples have fastened padlocks to its railings as a symbol of their love.
From the bridge one also has a wonderful view towards the city, as can be seen in the last photo from two weeks ago.

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