Lonely Planet Writer

This viewing platform in the Netherlands gently rocks as people walk on it

In most cases, new buildings and bridges are specifically designed not to shake or sway. But on this proposed new viewing platform overlooking the sea, visitors can enjoy what must surely rank as the world’s biggest see-saw experience.

The SeaSaw is designed to gently rock as people walk upon it and enjoy the view. It will be located in Den Helder, about fifty miles north of the Dutch capital Amsterdam.

The SeaSaw will offer spectacular views over the Marsdiep tidal rapid and the Wadden Sea, a world heritage site. The installation was designed by architecture firm MVRDV after an international competition to create a new symbol for the city.

MVRDV said they wanted “visitors and inhabitants to experience both city and sea from a whole new perspective.” The new attraction will be part of a wider reimagining of the city and its famous flood defences to open them up for everyday use. A scenic five-kilometre walking, cycling, and hiking route is also being built across Den Helder’s dyke to connect the urban centre to the sea. MVRDV plan to complete the SeaSaw by next year and are still working on how to engineer its signature see-saw effect.

Image of the giant viewing point
Visualisation of the SeaSaw viewing point. Image by: MVRDV

The Wadden Sea – which the SeaSaw will overlook – is one of nine world heritage sites in the Netherlands. That world heritage status is shared with Germany and Denmark and encompasses over 300 miles of coastline, tidal flats, and wetlands. Den Helder marks the southern end of the Wadden Sea, which is a paradise for bird-lovers with as many as 15 million migrating birds passing through every year.

The proposed SeaSaw
Visualisation of the proposed viewing platform. Image by: MVRDV

It is not the only spectacular new feature along the Waddenzee. Last year, a new centre telling the story of the Wadden Sea was opened in Ribe in Denmark and was nominated as one of the best new buildings in the world for the prestigious RIBA International Prize.