The 600-m stretch was given a new layer of asphalt scattered with thousands of luminous stones

Glow-in-the-dark cycle path opens in Netherlands

17 November 2014 | By Rod Sweet 0 Comments

A cycle path that twinkles at night thanks to thousands of stones that capture the sun’s energy during the day has opened in Nuenen, the Netherlands.

It was designed by the artist Daan Roosegarde and engineering firm Heijmans, the same team behind the country’s glowing highway pilot earlier this year.

It cost $872.5m (700,000 euros) to build. The 600-m stretch was given a new layer of asphalt scattered with thousands of luminous stones.

The opening of the path on 12 November marked the start of the Vincent Van Gogh 2015 international memorial year commemorating the 125th anniversary of the artist’s death.

By charging during the day and twinkling at night, the light patterns of the Van Gogh-Roosegaarde cycle path pay homage to Van Gogh’s famous painting “The Starry Night”.

The artist Daan Roosegarde called it “techno-poetry”.

“I wanted to create a place that people will experience in a special way, the technical combined with experience, that’s what techno-poetry means to me,” he said.

In an interview published on Heijmans’ website he said the biggest challenge was, “To allow the organic nature of the pattern to survive, while everything was manufactured by machinery.”

“The construction business often thinks in terms of kilometres,” he added, “but the design world thinks in millimetres.” 

The path forms part of a route that connects Van Gogh heritage locations in Brabant, Vincent’s homeland. The 600-metre-long path runs past the place where Van Gogh lived from 1883 to 1885.

Half the cost was provided by the province of Noord-Brabant.