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Kiel, Germany

Hörnbrücke

The world's first and only three-segment bascule bridge folds up into the shape of a capital "N" to let boat traffic through. 

Many people remember the first time they saw the spans of a bridge open up for a large ship to pass through. In Kiel, Germany, the world’s first and only three-segment bascule bridge allows people to experience that wonder in a different way.

The Hörnbrücke, stretching across the Kiel Fjord (also known as the Hörn) is 84 feet long when down, connecting the Norway Ferry Terminal to the rail station in the center of Kiel. When it is open for ship and boat traffic, the triple-folded segments form a capital “N.”

The pedestrian bridge was understandably complicated to build. The opening was delayed by miscalculations during construction and frequent malfunctions during testing, not to mention the increasing cost. These problems earned it the nickname “klappt-nix-brücke,” which roughly translates to “not folding bridge.”

Though residents were skeptical it ever would be, the Hörnbrücke opened in 1997. It opens up for passing ships approximately every hour, so opportunities to watch it are plentiful. The views from the bridge are also reportedly something to see, so after watching it, crossing it is not a bad idea.

Know Before You Go

Unless it's broken you can visit any time for free.