Theunis Bridge

Lighting to ensure safety, reduce energy costs and enhance this impressive work of art

The Gabriel Theunis Bridge is located on the Albert Canal in Merksem, just outside Antwerp. With nearly 40 million tons of goods transported annually, the Albert Canal is the most important waterway in Flanders.

The old bridge, with a clearance height of 6.82 meters was proving to be a bottleneck for inland navigation. The Vlaamse Waterweg decided to build a new bridge with a height of 9.10m and to widen the canal to 90m to let inland vessels with four layers of containers sail safely and smoothly. When we consider that one 1,200-ton ship replaces 50 trucks, the new height of the bridge prevents 8,000 trucks from becoming stuck in traffic every day, a huge win for mobility. 

A design adapted to its environment

The concept for the new Theunis Bridge was to provide a spacious connection for trams, pedestrians and vehicles, giving the feeling of a boulevard. In reality, three adjacent bridges were built to replace the old one - one bridge in the middle for trams and two road bridges on either side with 2 lanes for vehicles and a path for pedestrians and cyclists, providing a nice view of the water and the city in the distance.

The local authorities wanted a lighting solution that would:

  • ensure safety for all users;
  • showcase this work of art, with the luminaires perfectly integrated into the structure; 
  • reduce energy consumption;
  • minimise maintenance interventions.

To achieve these goals, Schréder proposed a lighting design with several LED luminaires.

Burgemeester Gabriel Theunisbrug


Main contractor: De Vlaamse Waterweg Contractor: Artes


Het Agentschap Wegen en Verkeer - Aquafin - De Lijn – Antwerp City - Stadsbader - Taveirne

Each luminaire has a specific role to play

Embedded in the bridge railing, the ILUM MARK discreetly integrates the structure to highlight the architectural design of the bridge and guide pedestrians and cyclists. A LED handrail was integrated into the handrail to enhance visibility for these users. Fitted with 3 high-power neutral white LEDs, they provide uniformity and visual comfort so people can travel in complete safety. 

The SCULPLINE 2 was installed to light the lanes reserved for motorists. As these luminaires had to be installed at a low height, under the guardrails in certain places for example, it was a quite a challenge to deliver the required lighting levels. Our teams carefully analysed the situation and adapted the photometry to deliver glare-free lighting with excellent uniformity for drivers. By ensuring visual comfort, the lighting maximises safety for all.

The tramway tracks are lit by the SCULPLINE 1. The longevity of the LEDs and the robust mechanical design will guarantee performance over time for this section which is subject to strong vibrations. The luminaires provide excellent visibility to enhance safety.

State-of-the-art lighting technology to achieve goals

All of these LED luminaires ensure low energy consumption and minimal maintenance, which is particularly important for this type of marine environment. 
Moreover, the choice of luminaires, with photometry specifically adapted to each application, provides safety and comfort to all the different types of people using the bridges. 
Finally, the vertical integration of the ILUM MARK emphasises the majestic architecture of this impressive work of art, creating a stunning iconic landmark, by day and by night.