Schwebefähre Osten–Hemmoor – Osten – Germany

The Osten-Hemmoor transporter bridge crosses the river Oste between these two towns in the State of Lower Saxony. Built in 1909, it catered for the increasing levels of traffic without relying on the tide and the weather, nor did it hinder the movement of sailing boats on the river. The locals call it the “Eiffel Tower of the North”, and it is an authentic symbol for the entire region.


The construction of the bridge had been necessary since 1881, when the demand for crossing the river Oste grew following the opening of the Harburg-Cuxhaven railway line. On 10th May 1899 the local Council took the decision to build a transporter that could cross the river without depending on tides or ice in winter, and without disturbing shipping traffic.

In 1903, MAN Gustavsburg and Allgemeine Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft (AEG) started working on plans for the design of the bridge. However, financial problems (the cost of construction, including the electrical control centre, rose to 180,000 Deutschmarks) delayed the start of building work until 1908.

The Berlinese engineer Max Pinette was charged with the construction work, in which over 250 tonnes of steel were used. Despite the disadvantage of starting the construction during winterime, the project was completed in August 1909. The official opening ceremony took place on 1st October that same year.

The bridge in figures

  • Distance between towers: 80 metres

  • Gondola crossing time: 6 minutes

  • Weight: 252 tonnes

  • Length of gondola: 16 x 4.30 metres (new gondola)

  • Height of the towers: 38 metres

  • Height of the platform over the water: 29 metres

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Credits and intellectual property

Top picture: ©OsteFoto Brinkmann

Gallery 1: ©Archiv Fördergesellschaft zur Erhaltung der Schwebefähre Osten-Hemmoor e.V.

Gallery 2: ©OsteFoto Brinkmann

Video: ©Eine OestingerTV-Production/ Karl-Heinz Brinkmann / Flying-Photo / Fam.Salmen