A series of moats and fortresses were built over the West Brabant Water Line region of the Netherlands during the 17th century in order to provide protection from invasion by France and Spain. Fort de Roovere was surrounded with a shallow moat that was too deep to march across, and too shallow for boats. In turn the earthen fort had remained protected –until now.
From afar, the Moses Bridge is invisible to the eye. The flow of the moat appears continuous, as the water level remains at the same level, reflecting the surrounding foliage. As visitors approach the fort, the bridge appears as a break in the water with its sloping walls containing it.
First lying flush with the earth, the bridge then descends deeper into the ground. Lined with wood sheet piling for walls, the deck and stairs sit between. The sides of the bridge are made from Accoya, and a hardwood is used for the bridge decking. Accoya wood undergoes a nontoxic modification process that helps prevent fungal decay and increases its durability, making it an ideal material for a sunken bridge. Like a dam, the walls of the bridge hold the waters of the moat back, and like Moses, the bridge parts the waters so that pedestrians may pass.
The Moses Bridge gives visitors a unique opportunity to pass through parted waters, to eventually meet a historic fortress of defence.
The West Brabant Water Line is a defence-line consisting of a series of fortresses and cities with inundation areas in the south-west of the Netherlands. It dates from the 17th century but fell into disrepair in the 19th century. When the water line was finally restored, an access bridge across the the moat of one of the fortresses, Fort de Roovere, was needed. This fort now has a new, recreational function and lies on several routes for cycling and hiking.
It is, of course, highly improper to build bridges across the moats of defence works, especially on the side of the fortress the enemy was expected to appear on. That’s why we designed an invisible bridge. Its construction is entirely made of wood, waterproofed with EPDM foil. The bridge lies like a trench in the fortress and the moat, shaped to blend in with the outlines of the landscape.
The bridge can’t be seen from a distance because the ground and the water come all the way up to its edge. When you get closer, the fortress opens up to you through a narrow trench. You can then walk up to its gates like Moses on the water.