Just outside of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, there is a small island township called Spijkenisse that’s criss-crossed with imaginary bridges. But how can bridges be imaginary when they physically exist? You steal their designs from the Euro.
In the latest episode of his ongoing series, Things You Might Not Know, YouTube personality Tom Scott explains the curious history of Spijkenisse bridges:
When the European Central Bank was first designing the Euro back in 2002, it decided to put bridges on bank notes as a symbol of the link between all E.U. countries. The only problem was that there were 12 E.U. member nations at the time, but only seven bank notes. So they hired Austrian designer Robert Kalina to come up with seven fictional bridges to put on every European note. Now no one could be offended by exclusion.
Kalina did a good job. He designed each bridge’s style to reflect a different period in architecture, from the Classical and Romanesque architecture of the 5- and 10-Euro notes, to the Art Nouveau and Modern styles of the 200- and 500-Euro bills, respectively. These bridges were sort of abstract, designed with weird lines and vibrant colors that played well on print, but that’s okay: it’s not like these bridges were ever going to be built. Except Spijkenisse did! The town hired artist Robin Stam to bring the bridges to life in 2011, single-handedly claiming all of the Euro’s imaginary bridges for the Dutch.
I’m inspired. Anyone else want Washington, D.C., to take a page out of Spijkenisse’s book and build a real-life version of the dollar bill’s cyclops-capped Freemason pyramid?